Posted on July 13, 2011 in Press Releases

Contact: Omar Tewfik, 202-652-4988

U.S. Favorable Ratings Plummet Across the Arab World

WASHINGTON - July 13, 2011 - The Arab American Institute (AAI) released the findings of a poll today conducted in six Arab nations. Commissioned promptly after President Obama's state department address on the popular uprisings in the Arab world, over 4000 people were surveyed. Four key findings of the poll are:

  • U.S. and Obama favorable ratings are at a record low
  • Top Arab concerns are U.S. interference in the region and the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Killing bin Laden has not improved relations with the region
  • There is a mixed mood on the Arab Spring

View the poll in full

Media inquiries should be directed to: Omar Tewfik at or 202-652-4988.

Poll Summary:

With the 2008 election of Barack Obama, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. more than doubled in many Arab countries. But in the two years since his famous “Cairo speech,” ratings for both the U.S. and the President have spiraled downwards. The President is seen overwhelmingly as failing to meet the expectations set during his speech, and the vast majority of those surveyed disagree with U.S policies.   

In five out of the six countries surveyed, the U.S. was viewed less favorably than Turkey, China, France—or Iran. Far from seeing the U.S. as a leader in the post-Arab Spring environment, the countries surveyed viewed “U.S. interference in the Arab world” as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East, second only to the continued Palestinian occupation.

While the vehemence of Arab reaction to the U.S. was startling, the general sentiment echoed points made in AAI President James Zogby’s 2010 book Arab Voices, in which he reflected on Arab opinions of both the U.S. and our foreign policies. “American democracy [seems] a lot like damaged goods to many Arabs… U.S. policy in the region has increasingly undermined Arab attitudes toward America as a global model.”

“This poll reaffirms what we’ve been saying,” said Zogby today. “Americans looked to Obama for change in 2008. The expectations were high, and we haven’t delivered. It seems that one thing that Americans and Arabs agree on is that the U.S. needs to make changes here at home before looking to build on changes abroad.”

Zogby added, “Here and abroad, people were looking for real changes in our domestic and foreign policies, for real engagement in the Arab world and for progress in Palestine. These numbers are a clear statement of their disappointment.”