President Barack Obama may find audiences in many Arab countries more willing to listen when he addresses the Muslim world Thursday from Cairo, Egypt. New Gallup Polls conducted in 11 Arab countries show that although approval of U.S. leadership remains generally low, ratings are up in 8 countries including Egypt.
Surveys conducted roughly two months into Obama's presidency show median approval of U.S. leadership across the 11 Arab countries surveyed at 25%, ranging from a low of 7% in the Palestinian Territories to a high of 56% in Mauritania.
In eight Arab countries, including Egypt, Gallup recorded double-digit increases in approval from the last measurements of Bush's term. These upsurges, which ranged from 11 percentage points in Syria to 23 points in Tunisia, may reflect positive reception to Obama and his administration's public outreach to the Muslim world. The president's overtures toward pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq and closing Guantanamo Bay prison, two actions that respondents in previous Gallup surveys said could help improve the United States' image, also may have resonated with residents.