Obama's Islam outreach not working


From The Politico. President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve diplomatic relations with Muslim nations have not translated into favorable images of the United States in key Muslim countries, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The Pew Global Attitudes survey found that the popularity of the United States remained low, and in some cases decreased, because of continued disagreements over U.S. policies. The results show the limits of Obama’s approach if it is not tied to concrete changes in policy.

In Turkey and Pakistan, only 17 percent of the public hold favorable views of the United States, the Pew survey found. Obama’s popularity ratings fell from 41 percent to 31 percent in Turkey, while the ratings plunged to single digits among Pakistani Muslims, from 13 percent in 2009 to a mere 8 percent this year.

Obama’s June 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo generated cautious optimism about his presidency. The latest Pew survey found that has mostly evaporated.

In Egypt, U.S. favorability ratings dropped 10 percentage points from 27 percent to 17 percent — the lowest since Pew began surveys in that country in 2006.

“The popularity of the idea of Obama does not translate into support for concrete U.S. policies,” said former Sen. John Danforth at a news conference to discuss the poll results. “The world likes the idea of Obama and the idea of a guy who ran for office with the concept of change. But the harder the issue and more concrete the actions of the U.S., the less support we’re going to see.”

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