On the other hand, Gallup found a 67 percent approval of Mikhail Gorbachev's Nobel in 1990. And, in September 1997, it found that 63 percent favored one posthumously for Diana, princess of Wales, in recognition of her work to ban land mines. She wasn't named, but the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines won that year's Nobel Peace Prize.
The Obama Nobel caused a ripple not just in the United States but around the world. Praise from international dignitaries poured in for Obama, but reaction -- especially on the Web -- ranged from confusion to anger to absolute shock. For many people, who thought Obama's unsuccessful efforts to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago was a sign of an international snub, the news was even more surprising.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said he could not think of anyone more deserving of the honor.
"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in, and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said in a statement. "President Obama has brought a new vision of a world based on human decency, fairness and freedom, which is an inspiration to us all."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has met with Obama several times to discuss troops in Afghanistan, congratulated the president, calling the award "an incentive to the president and to all of us" to do more for peace.
"His advocacy for a nuclear-free world is a goal that we should all set for ourselves," Merkel said on a German TV station. "In a short amount of time, he has set a new tone for the rest of the world, bringing a willingness to negotiate and a readiness for dialogue and we should all support him in his efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons."
Israel's President Shimon Peres perhaps offered the most gleaming praises for Obama.
"Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such profound impact," Peres said in a congratulatory letter to Obama. "Under your leadership peace became a real and original agenda. And from Jerusalem, I am sure all the bells of engagement and understanding will ring again."
But on the ground, many people said the award was premature and that the U.S. president has a lot of work ahead of him. In Kenya -- the native country of Obama's father -- several people said they are happy Obama is in the White House but didn't think he has accomplished enough to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Two of the last six Nobel Peace prize winners have had Kenyan roots.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, many assailed the Nobel committee for awarding the U.S. president the prize while a war rages in the region. Just today, a car bomb killed 41 and wounded hundreds in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Even in his home turf, the reaction was one of apprehension. The Republican National Committee assailed the decision of the Nobel committee.
"The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working toward peace and human rights," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "One thing is certain -- President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."