- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2010

In Pakistan, President Obama is about as popular as President George W. Bush was before he left office, a new Pew poll shows.

A new Pew Global Attitudes Project survey finds Mr. Obama’s approval rating at 8 percent and few Pakistanis confident he will do the right thing in global affairs. Mr. Bush’s approval rating was 7 percent in a similar Pew poll.

“President Obama’s famous global popularity does not extend to Pakistan,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center.

Mr. Obama received the lower ratings in Pakistan than in any other nation polled this year.

Comparatively, 18 percent of Pakistanis have at least some confidence in Osama bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs. The study finds that Pakistan is the only predominantly Muslim country surveyed where more express confidence in the al Qaeda leader than in Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama received his highest approval ratings - 94 percent - in his father’s home country, Kenya.

The Pew study polled 2,000 Pakistanis in April. People living in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border, which U.S. officials believe is a haven for top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, were not surveyed due to instability.

Less than 17 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable opinion of the U.S., a rating Pew pollsters said was virtually unchanged from recent years.

“When we asked people questions about the United States, specifically, a majority say they consider the United States an enemy of Pakistan, not an ally of Pakistan, and when we asked that question about China, we got just the reverse answer,” Mr. Kohut said.

Low U.S. favorability ratings are common to Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt.

Pakistan and Egypt are among the top four recipients of U.S. aid, after Afghanistan and Israel.

Yet Pakistanis have mixed assessments of how much financial aid the U.S. gives to Pakistan.

“The Pakistanis, whether the mass public or the elites, love American largesse. They simply detestmost U.S. policies,” said Sumit Ganguly, director of research of the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

The American people also fare badly. Sixty-one percent of Pakistanis polled have a negative view of Americans, while just 18 percent hold a positive opinion.

“Many Pakistanis have long believed that the U.S. is a faithless friend who uses Pakistan when needed and then discards it,” said Teresita Schaffer, director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Story Continues →