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Obama's Approval Drops, Despite Gestures to Arab World

Despite Obama's overtures to the Arab world, his approval ratings in Arab countries are down in latest Gallup Poll.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/31/2010, 2:57 PM / Last Update: 5/31/2010, 3:07 PM

Flash 90

United States President Barack Obama enjoys lower approval ratings in Arab countries in 2010 than he did in 2009, despite overtures to the Arab world. A Gallup poll showed approval of Obama's performance dropping in Egypt, Algeria, Mauritania and Lebanon.

Approval was lowest in the Palestinian Authority at just 16%, but was not significantly lower than in 2009. The highest rate of approval by far was in Mauritania, where Obama had 69% support; next in line was Algeria with just 30% approval.

Polls were conducted in February and April of 2010, in advance of the one-year anniversary of Obama's Cairo address, in which he expressed the desire to rebuild America's ties with the Muslim world. Obama's approval rose significantly in several Arab League nations following the address.

Gallup researchers noted that the largest swing in public opinion was in Egypt, where Obama enjoyed 37% approval in 2009, compared to only 6% approval for his predecessor, George Bush. However, Egyptian approval dropped sharply in early 2010, and was down to 19% by April.

This, despite Obama's efforts to continue reaching out to the Muslim world. Since his Cairo address, the U.S. president has moved to shut down the American detainment facility for terrorism suspects in Guantanamo Bay, to support entrepreneurs in the Muslim world, and to withdraw troops from Iraq.

He has also supported the Arab world in many of its demands regarding Israel. For example, he had condemned Israel for building in northern Jerusalem, which the Arab League has claimed as Arab land, and more recently signed a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty call that singles Israel out for criticism.