Arabs Discouraged About Obama

This year's Zogby poll of public opinion in the Middle East exhibits a marked shift on the Obama Administration, Iran.

This year’s Arab Public Opinion Poll has shown a dramatic shift in the Middle East on opinions of President Obama:

Among the most striking findings on the question of attitudes toward President Obama: Early in the Obama administration, in April and May 2009, 51% of the respondents in the six countries expressed optimism about American policy in the Middle East. In the 2010 poll, only 16% were hopeful, while a majority – 63% – was discouraged.

Arab opinion in the Middle East of the president’s policy with respect to the region was quite buoyant in the immediate aftermath of the president’s speech in Cairo last year. However, as any number of analysts in the region mentioned at the time, actions speak louder than words, and clearly people in the Middle East don’t believe they’ve seen nearly enough in the way of action.

Also interesting is the shift on whether an Iranian nuclear weapon would be good for the Middle East. The positive view identified by the poll certainly is markedly different from the views that have been attributed to Arab governments in the region. It may be that Iran’s public diplomacy has been paying off.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. steve says:

    “It may be that Iran’s public diplomacy has been paying off.”

    More likely, Israel’s exceedingly stupid diplomacy, or lack thereof, is paying off for Iran. I certainly dont get the sense from the Arab publications I occasionally peruse that Iran is being warmly embraced. I also suspect that the average citizen has noted that the US does not invade countries that have nukes, even if they have terrorists.

    Steve

  2. LaurenceB says:

    I suspect drone attacks in Pakistan probably don’t go over very well in the Muslim world.  Heck, they don’t even go over very well with me, here in the Christian world.
     

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Steve:

    I certainly dont get the sense from the Arab publications I occasionally peruse that Iran is being warmly embraced.

    I don’t think that Middle Eastern publications necessarily reflect public opinion.  I suspect they’re far more likely to reflect official opinion.

     

    LaurenceB:

     

    True, that.

     

    I’d go farther and note that we have so little control over the message that people receive throughout the Middle East that it’s a wonder that anybody at all there has a favorable opinion of us.  Every bad deed, deliberate or accidental, is trumpeted while every good deed is either suspected or suppressed.