In no other European country has support for American leadership in world affairs dropped as much as in Poland, with only 38 percent of Poles now finding it “desirable,” down from 49 percent in 2011, according to the German Marshall Fund’s latest annual survey of transatlantic trends.
Among European countries, Poland gave President Barack Obama his lowest favorability rating – 54 percent – compared to 82 percent from the continent as a whole.
Just 49 percent of Poles approve of Mr Obama’s international policies, a 16 percentage-point drop since last year, while Poland also had the second-lowest level (59 percent) of respondents who said they believed that the United States and the EU have “enough common interests” to enable international cooperation.
Likewise, the percentage of surveyed Poles who saw “enough common interests” between the EU and US (59 percent) fell below the Europe-wide average of 66 percent.
Three key incidents
President Obama’s standing among Poles has been tarnished in recent years, mostly due to three incidents: The first was his 2009 cancellation of George W. Bush’s missile shield program, elements of which were to be hosted in Poland, on the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland in World War II (he later announced a replacement program, which also included Poland).
Second, in 2010, Poles were dismayed to see him playing golf on the day of the funeral of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński (he was prevented from attending due a volcanic eruption in Iceland).
Finally, earlier this year, he made an unfortunate slip of the tongue referring to German concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II as “Polish death camps” (he was honoring a Polish hero at the time).
If Poles were to vote in the upcoming American presidential election, 35 percent would vote for Mr Obama, and 16 percent would vote for Mitt Romney, the survey found.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya
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