New poll finds pessimism over Obama handling of ‘Arab Spring’
posted at 12:31 pm on October 22, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
On the eve of tonight’s presidential debate on foreign policy, Pew Research Center has released a poll showing growing skepticism over President Obama’s Middle East policies and growing support for a tougher approach toward Iran and China.
On specific questions about the Arab Spring, the numbers are uniformly negative compared with those given six months ago. When asked about changes in political leadership in countries such as Libya and Egypt, 25% said they believe these changes will lead to lasting benefits for inhabitants of those places. In April, that answer was given by 42% of those queried. On whether the changes will benefit the U.S, the numbers went from bad (24% in April) to worse (14% in October).
Support for a tougher U.S. position toward bad players in the region—a foreign policy stance advocated by GOP challenger Mitt Romney—the numbers moved in the opposite direction. Whereas 50% of respondents said the U.S. should “take a firm stand” with Iran in April, that viewed was embraced by 56% of those polled more recently. On the question of whether to get tougher on China, the number of affirmative answers rose from 40% in March to 49% in October.
The president is still ahead 47% to 43% on the question of which candidate is more likely to make wise decisions about foreign policy.
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