In America, Mr. Obama is personally more popular than his policies.
Overseas, however, his persona and policies are equally important. Confidence in his handling of world affairs averages 77 percent in Europe, and is similarly high in places such as Brazil, Kenya, Japan and India. His policies on Guantanamo Bay, climate change and international approval for the use of force get broad global support. Foreigners like his personal story as much as we do; but what really moves many of them is his promise to lead the United States in a different direction…
What is interesting is that the foreign image of Mr. Obama’s America is increasingly at variance with Americans’ views. Many Americans, particularly independents who voted for him, are turning away from his policies because they don’t conform to the America they envision. They may still like his personal story, but they are getting worried that he’s taking the country in the wrong direction – the very direction many foreigners applaud.
If this trend continues, Americans may end up turning against Mr. Obama precisely for what makes him popular abroad – namely, pursuing policies that weaken America’s position in the world.