Obama’s International Affairs Approval Rating Dips — Again

By Nicki Rossoll

Sep 17, 2013 3:48pm
AP obama speaks shooting ml 130916 16x9 608 Obamas International Affairs Approval Rating Dips    Again

Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

A month after getting elected to a second term, more Americans said they approved of President Obama’s handling of international affairs than at any other time since late 2009. Nine months later, as Obama faces one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges of his presidency, Americans seem to have changed their minds.

According to the most recent ABC News-Washington Post Poll released this week,  47 percent of Americans said they approved of the way Obama was handling international affairs — a 7 percentage point slide since December 2012. Forty-four percent of Americans said they disapproved — a 5 percentage point uptick since last December.

Obama’s approval rating on international affairs has reached this level at  only  two other times during his presidency, according to ABC News’ polling: once in November 2011 and again in April 2012.

As President Obama waits for the Russian plan to disarm Syria’s Assad regime of chemical weapons to take its course, he has come under withering criticism from those who say his approach to the Syrian crisis has been haphazard. In a recent interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama rejected such criticism, saying that he was “less concerned about style points.” 

But this week’s ABC News-Washington Post poll shows that it’s not only Washington insiders giving Obama low marks: 36 percent of Americans said they approved of his handling of the Syrian crisis compared with 56 percent who said they disapproved.

Although Syria may be dragging Obama’s numbers down now, his scores on international affairs have been on a downward trajectory since the earliest months of his presidency.

ABC News-Washington Post polling over the course of Obama’s years in office shows his foreign policy approval rating has consistently hovered just below 50 percent since 2011, with his strongest marks coming in the early stages of his first term. He reached an all-time high of 67 percent in April 2009.

But even events that were major successes for the Obama administration, such as the May 2011 killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, did not give him much of a boost. In an ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted six months after bin Laden’s death, Obama’s international affairs approval rating stood at 47 percent — exactly where it was this week.

Here is a look back at ABC News-Washington Post polling on the following question since the beginning of the Obama presidency: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling international affair? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

 

——– Approve ——–   ——- Disapprove ——     No

NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion

9/15/13      47       25         22      44       11         33         9

12/16/12     54       32         22      39       11         28         7

9/29/12 RV   49       28         20      48       12         36         3

5/20/12      48       30         18      46       15         31         6

4/8/12       47       24         23      44       11         33         9

1/15/12      49       26         23      44       10         33         7

11/3/11      47       26         21      45       13         31         8

11/15/09     60       30         30      37       13         23         3

10/18/09     57       34         23      36       15         21         7

9/12/09      57       32         25      33       12         21        10

6/21/09      61       NA         NA      32       NA         NA         7

4/24/09      67                          27                             6

3/29/09      62        “          ”      27        “          “        11

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