Obama’s Arab ratings: Six-nation survey
Obama’s Arab ratings: Six-nation survey
Wednesday, May 13,2009 03:55
By Mark Silva

As President Barack Obama prepares to address the Muslim world, with a speech planned in early June in Egypt, a new poll suggests that the American leader will have a receptive audience in some Arab nations.

A poll of six Arab nations that McClatchy Newspapers has sponsored in conjunction with Ipsos polling has found that Obama is well-regarded in some.

Ironically, Obama"s standing appears lowest, among these nations, in Egypt, which the White House named last week as the location of the president"s June 4 address.

"Obama scored highest in Jordan, where 58 percent ... have a favorable opinion of him, 29 percent have an unfavorable view, 6 percent had no opinion and 7 percent didn"t know,"" McClatchy"s Bill Douglas reports.

"Saudi Arabians have a 53 percent favorable opinion of Obama, followed by 52 percent in the United Arab Emirates,"" Douglas reports. "From there, Obama"s popularity dips, with a 47 percent favorability rating in Kuwait, 43 percent in Lebanon and 35 percent in Egypt.

"n none of these countries, however, was Obama"s unfavorable rating higher than his favorable one,"" McClatchy"s man on the poll story notes -- which, in conventional polling terms, means that he could attempt to run for office in any of those places.

"Because of this, there is an opportunity for the president to literally "bridge the gap" where his repository of goodwill lifts the goodwill towards America," Ipsos reports in its analysis of the poll.

Obama has courted support in the region and throughout the broader Muslim worlds. He addressed Muslims in his inaugural address: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

The McClatchy-Ipsos poll surveyed 7,000 adults in six nations between March 9 and March 25 and has a possible margin of error of plus or minus three ponts.

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