Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Polling Data and the New Obama Administration

A couple of weeks into the new Obama administration, there is a wave of polling data concerning foreign affairs.

• For example, a new poll shows Canada, site of President Obama’s first foreign trip, happens to be Americans favorite nation (see Gallup Poll). Two nations that dropped dramatically in favorability since 2005 are Mexico and Russia – not surprising.

• Afghanistan, which may be Obama’s most controversial initiative, has bipartisan support. Seventy-five percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats approve sending 17,000 more troops. Further, Gallup reports that while a majority of the public believe things are going badly, a majority support keeping troops there “until the situation improves” (48%) or “more than two years” (12%).

• Finally, Obama started his tenure with a high approval, which continues. His 68 percent after inaugural day was among the highest approvals for a presidential start in recent history. The current 59 percent is more typical of presidents after a month, but still high. Republican approval is now at 27 percent, down from 41 percent (see Gallup poll).

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