On Sept. 24, Gallup released a poll showing that U.S. approval in the Middle East was already waning before the “Innocence of Muslims” film provoked widespread anti-U.S. demonstrations.  The organization surveyed 12 countries between January and May 2012. All together about 20 percent of adults approved of the U.S. leadership’s “job performance.” In contrast, President Barack Obama had a 25 percent approval rating when he took office in 2009. In 2008, George Bush had only a 15 percent rating.

The U.S. approval rating varies widely from country to country. Libya is the only country where a majority of the population, 54 percent, approves of U.S. leadership.  In Iran, 8 percent of the population favors the U.S. leadership.

 

The following table charts changes in approval ratings from 2008 to 2012 and from the beginning of the Arab uprisings to 2012.

The Obama administration’s reaction to the Arab uprisings has produced mixed results. U.S. approval improved significantly in Syria and Yemen since the end of 2011. But it dropped by 6 percentage points in Tunisia and 14 percentage points in Iraq. Gallup recorded the sharpest drop in Iraqi Kurdistan, where citizens are nervous about their security due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Click here for the poll.