Meridian President Amb. Stuart Holliday discusses USGLP data implications for US foreign policy.
Meridian International Center and Gallup released findings from their third annual U.S.Global Leadership Track today. The Track surveyed people in more than 130 countries on a rolling basis over the course of 2011 on whether they approve or disapprove of US leadership. The findings show that across the 130 countries surveyed, median approval ratings of US leadership have remained steady with around a 46% approval rating. However, for the same 116 countries surveyed in 2010, there is a slight dip in approval rating from 47% in 2010 to 43% in 2011.
General Findings: Although overall the median approval ratings for the U.S. remained steady at 46%, there were only three countries that experienced double digit gains and far more that experienced double digit losses in approval. The region with the highest median approval rating remained Africa and that with the lowest median approval rating is the Americas. In Europe and Asia, approval ratings held relatively steady.
Africa: The median approval rating was 74% and median disapproval rating was 17%. Ratings were highest for Sub-Saharan Africa and much lower for North Africa. Approval ratings for Arab Spring countries in the region, with the exception of Morocco and Tunisia which experienced a slight increase, remained largely unchanged from 2010. Approval was lowest in Africa for Egypt at 19% but remained unchanged even after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
Americas: The median approval rating for the Americas dropped significantly to 40% from 46% in 2010. This was likely due to a sentiment in Latin America that the region remains largely unengaged by the U.S. despite great hopes about engagement when President Obama took office. The median disapproval rating was 22%.Two countries that experienced double digit approval losses were Panama and Colombia who both had to wait through a prolonged approval process for FTAs with the U.S. in 2011. Approval was highest in Haiti, El Salvador, and Canada and lowest in Argentina and Mexico.
Europe: The median approval rating was 42% and the median disapproval rating was 26%. The median approval in Europe is still more than twice as high as it was during the last year of the Bush Administration but the trend seems to be moving in a negative direction. Countries that experienced the biggest increases in approval were Belgium and the UK. Countries that experienced double digit losses included some longtime allies like Germany, France, Sweden and Spain. It is likely that the approval losses in Europe stemmed from the financial crisis both in terms of perceptions of U.S. culpability in causing it and the decision by the U.S. to not intervene in the Euro crisis.
Asia: The median approval rating was 39% and the median disapproval rating was 27%. The 39% approval rate is still higher than at any time during the Bush Administration but remains relatively unchanged despite concerted efforts by the Obama Administration last year to turn its focus more toward Asia. There is also a great deal of disparity in views of US leadership in Asia with the majority in most countries being more positive than negative but the notable exceptions are in the Middle East and South Asia. Singapore had the highest median approval ratings and Iran had the lowest approval ratings.
About the U.S. Global Leadership Project: The U.S.-Global Leadership Project is a joint effort between the Meridian International Center and Gallup to provide a comprehensive assessment of how world residents view U.S. leadership. The project combines Gallup’s unique global opinion data from more than 150 countries with Meridian’s leadership-focused context to create a powerful and useful barometer.
The U.S.-Global Leadership Project gives public and private sector leaders a better understanding of what is driving global views of U.S. leadership, creates a context for collaboration on how to improve those views, and enhances U.S. public and private global engagement efforts.
About the U.S.-Global Leadership Track: The U.S.-Global Leadership Track is the largest global public opinion study of views about U.S. leadership. This report is the third in an annual series and includes U.S. leadership approval data from more than 130 countries that Gallup surveyed during the third year of the Obama administration. The Track ultimately will feature data from more than 150 countries.