Barack Obama rates better on foreign policy: Poll

President Barack Obama`s approval ratings for handling foreign policy issues generally top his ratings for most domestic issues, including the economy and health care, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

PTI| Updated: Dec 18, 2013, 20:55 PM IST

Washington: President Barack Obama`s approval ratings for handling foreign policy issues generally top his ratings for most domestic issues, including the economy and health care, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

But the poll also suggests a majority of Americans want the president to pull troops out of Afghanistan faster than he`s doing, and many are skeptical about a tentative nuclear deal with Iran.

The poll found that 57 per cent now say that going to war in Afghanistan after the 2001 terrorist attacks was probably the "wrong thing to do." And 53 per cent say the pace of the planned withdrawal is too slow, 34 per cent said the pace was just about right and 10 percent said it was too fast. All combat troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, six in 10 Americans approve of the preliminary deal between Iran and six global powers to curb Iran`s nuclear ambitions. But that support is soft and many doubt the preliminary deal will lead to concrete results.

Even though he garners more disapproval than approval on the handling of Afghanistan and Iran, Obama generally gets better ratings on foreign policy than on domestic issues.

Nearly half (49 per cent) approve of his handling of US relations with other countries while 50 per cent disapprove.

In contrast, just 40 per cent approve of his handling of the economy, while 59 per cent disapprove. And on health care, the approval rating stands at 39 per cent, with 61 percent disapproving. His overall job approval is at 42 per cent, with 58 per cent disapproving.

The slightly higher ratings on foreign policy generally make sense, suggested Philip Salathe, 70, of Indianapolis, who participated in the poll.
Salathe said Obama in 2008 ran against Sen John McCain, who during the campaign joked about dropping bombs on Iran. "I figure we could fix the economy if it gets ruined and we can repeal any bad laws that get passed," Salathe said, but a military confrontation with Iran or another foreign policy crisis could have more disastrous consequences.

Just 16 per cent of those polled said they expected the situation in Afghanistan to "get better" over the next year; 32 per cent said they expected it to "get worse" while about half said they expected the situation to "stay about the same."

The poll showed Americans broadly approve of a tentative deal to curb Iran`s nuclear program. Fifty-nine per cent approved, 38 per cent disapproved.

But that support was tentative, with more than 4 in 10 (44 per cent) also saying it`s unlikely the agreement will keep Iran from seeking to build its own nuclear weapon. Just 11 percent think that outcome is extremely or very likely.