Views of US leadership growing more favorable

Updated: 2014-04-11 10:46

By Liu Chang in Washington (China Daily USA)

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International approval of US leadership is increasing, reversing a five-year downward trend, according to the fifth annual poll jointly conducted by Meridian International Center and Gallup. China's opinion of the US's job performance, however, is dropping.

Internationally, 46 percent of residents viewed the US's job performance favorably in 2013, compared with 41 percent in 2012, according to the latest U.S.-Global Leadership Project. US world approval ratings had consistently declined since 2009.

Results were helped by 45 percent of Asian residents giving the US a thumbs-up, the highest Gallup has measured in the region during either the Obama or the Bush administrations. In 2013, a median of 29% worldwide approved of China’s leadership, down from 35% in 2009.

Gallup World Poll managing director Jon Clifton told reporters at the Gallup Building in Washington on Thursday that the survey sought to ask the world a simple question: Do you approve or disapprove of the US's job performance?

The largest global public opinion study of perceptions about US leadership, the report included data from 130 countries and areas that Gallup surveyed during the first year of President Barack Obama's second term in 2013.

US global leadership ratings sagged at the end of Obama's first term then recovered in 2013, despite classified documents revealed by Edward Snowden, a former employee of the US Central Intelligence Agency and former contractor for the National Security Agency, showing the government tracked cell phone calls and monitored the e-mail and Internet traffic of Americans and residents of foreign countries. The revelations jolted US-Russia relations and aroused anger in Germany and other countries.

The relatively high median approval rating for the US in Asia may stem from the administration's attempts to strengthen its alliances and trade partnerships throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the report said. In Asia, the US's 2013 approval ratings rose in double digits in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan. By contrast, residents in the Middle East and parts of South Asia were more likely to disapprove rather than approve the US's leadership, according to the report.

The highest approval of US leadership in Asia in 2013 was Cambodia's 67 percent.