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Obama’s global approval rating drops

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A Pew Research Center global poll released on Thursday showed that worldwide approval ratings of U.S. President Barack Obama’s policies have dropped significantly since his 2009 inauguration, with the highest levels of disapproval emerging from countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

Al Arabiya Correspondent Muna Shikaki spoke with James Bell, Pew’s Director of International Survey Research, on Thursday to go over some of the highlights of the poll, which surveyed over 17,000 people in 12 countries.

Here are some of the most important findings:

• In nearly every county surveyed, there is widespread opposition to the Obama administration’s use of drones to target extremist groups. In predominantly Muslim countries, U.S. anti-terrorism measures are still largely unpopular.

• In Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, the U.S. was more popular under President George W. Bush in 2008 than it is right now under President Obama.

• The American approach to business receives favorable ratings in the Arab world, but not in Europe. The four Arab countries surveyed are the only countries in which half or more say they like American ways of doing business – Lebanon 63%, Jordan 59%, Tunisia 59%, Egypt 52%.

• In Lebanon, views varied considerably among the country’s major sectarian divides. Shia Muslims gave the U.S. only a 7% favorability rating, while Sunni Muslims (67%) and Christians (61%) responded with strong approval of the U.S.

The full report is available online here: http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2012/06/Pew-Global-Attitudes-U.S.-Image-Report-FINAL-June-13-2012.pdf

(Angela Simaan is a producer in Al Arabiya’s Washington, DC bureau.)