- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama’s popular support has softened at home, but he still has plenty of fans in Europe, a poll released Wednesday found.

More than three-quarters of those polled in 11 European Union countries said they approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of international policies, compared with just over half of Americans having that view. The annual survey was conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a nonpartisan policy institution that promotes trans-Atlantic cooperation, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, a research center in Turin, Italy.

The poll found that Europeans were not as enthusiastic about some of Mr. Obama’s specific policies, with just under half approving the U.S. president’s handling of Afghanistan and Iran.

Mr. Obama’s approval ratings did dip slightly in Europe from last year’s poll, from 83 percent to 78 percent. Mr. Obama found the most approval in Portugal, at 88 percent. His approval took a serious hit in Turkey, falling from 50 percent to 28 percent.

Mr. Obama’s dropping popularity at home has much to do with his failure to deliver a strong economic recovery and is likely to lead to sharp losses for his Democratic Party in November’s congressional and state elections. For Europeans, Mr. Obama may remain a welcome contrast to his predecessor, President George W. Bush, who was unpopular in much of Europe.

Among the survey’s other findings:

—Sixty-five percent of Europeans polled approved of Mr. Obama’s policies involving Russia.

—While world leaders have failed to reach a major climate change accord since Mr. Obama took office, 61 percent of the Europeans approve of Mr. Obama’s efforts to combat climate change.

—Europeans are unhappy about the euro but are more supportive of the European Union. Only 38 percent of respondents in the 11 countries said the euro has been a good thing for the economy, while 63 percent said EU membership has helped the economy.

—Despite NATO’s struggles in Afghanistan, 62 percent of EU and 77 percent of U.S. respondents said they supported the security alliance being prepared to act outside of Europe.

The telephone survey conducted between June 1 and June 29 polled 1,000 people each in the United States, Turkey and 11 European Union countries. Each country’s survey had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.