Majority of Americans disapprove of Obama’s foreign policy handling

Majority of Americans disapprove of Obama’s foreign policy handling
Approval for Barack Obama’s foreign policy has dropped to an all-time low, with just 40 percent of Americans backing the president’s handling of international affairs, while 52 percent disagree with his performance on the global stage, a new poll reveals.

The survey, released by Quinnipiac University on Thursday, shows that overall assessments of Obama’s foreign policy are equally bleak when broken down on an issue-by-issue basis.

Only 33 percent of Americans support Obama’s proposed path on dealing with Syria, with the majority opposed to intervention.  

Among those polled, only 27 percent of registered voters believe US involvement in Syria serves the national interest, while the same number Americans support the president’s plan of providing arms and military supplies to forces fighting to topple the government of President Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of Americans remain opposed to providing material support to Syrian rebels, with the overall lack of support cutting across party lines.

However, by a margin of 49 percent to 38 percent, voters did approve of the use of unmanned drones or missiles to attack Syrian government targets if it did not put American lives at risk.

Perceptions of his handling of the war in Afghanistan remains divided, with 46 percent agreeing with the course the president is taking and 45 percent opposed.

The president however, was viewed positively on counterterrorism issues, garnering a 52 percent approval rating. 

Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

The latest survey also revealed that 48 percent of respondents disapprove of Obama’s overall job performance, with only 44 percent approving, a slight bump from a May poll which put his negative rating at 49 percent and his approval rating at 45 percent. However, an April poll had the president polling favorably, with 49 percent supporting and 45 percent opposing his job performance. 

The poll was conducted between June 28 and July 8 among 2,014 registered voters with a margin of error of 2.2 percent.

Despite Obama’s handling of terror-related issues generally being viewed as positive, a separate Quinnipiag poll released Wednesday found that 45 percent of the public believe the government’s antiterrorism policies have “gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties.” Forty percent on the other hand, said they have “not gone far enough to adequately protect the country.” 

Screenshot from www.quinnipiac.edu

When posed the same question in 2010, only 25 percent of the pubic said the government had gone too far in restricting civil liberties, while 63 said it hadn’t done enough to secure the country. 

American voters further said, by a margin of 55 to 34 percent, that Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who blew the lid on the agency’s sweeping surveillance programs, is a whistleblower rather than a traitor.

"The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistleblower than traitor are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about the overall anti- terrorism effort and civil liberties and about Snowden is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything. Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment," he continued.