Obama's World Tour

Global citizens buying into possible presidency

is five times more popular than McCain.

Despite Obama’s popularity in Europe and Africa, there are still some regions that aren’t as excited about his candidacy. “The largest level of suspicion or reticence about Obama’s presidency would come from the Muslim states, particularly Arab states in the Middle East,” Hall says. Indeed, the Pew survey found that Obama is least popular in Middle Eastern countries Jordan, Turkey, and Pakistan, where only 22%, 20% and 10%, respectively, say they have confidence in his abilities as president. However, McCain inspires little confidence in those areas as well, though he holds a one percentage point lead over Obama in Jordan, according to the poll.

Obama’s unpopularity in the Middle East, however, is not so much a reflection of the people’s distrust in him as it is a reflection of their distrust of the United States, Hall points out, making it unlikely that any American candidate would score high with citizens of those countries.

With so many global citizens excited about a possible Obama candidacy, a victory by McCain would likely be met with some disappointment across the world since many believe his presidency would be a continuation of unpopular Bush administration foreign policies such as the American presence in Iraq, Hall says. But he cautions that an Obama victory doesn’t automatically mean the image of the U.S. among foreigners will improve dramatically right away, as those across the world will want to see what the new president does about Iraq and the unstable global economy.

Winning the world over is going to take time, Hall says. “Whoever assumes the presidency in ’09 will have such a huge agenda and so many deep problems to contend with.”

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