Leadership Statistics: Obama has “the Lead”

Jeffrey Laurenti analyzed that stats for world public opinion on Obamaʻs leadership in the Huffington Post, testing out just how true his claim in the State of the Union Address that the US is “more respected around the world.”

He found that, although Obamaʻs rating has dropped since he took office, “the public in every country but embittered Pakistan is far more enthusiastic about Obamas global leadership than about George Bushʻs four years ago…. an astounding 32 percentage points above Bushʻs rating.”

If statistics of public opinion about leadership have any meaning, Republicans should stop attacking Obama and start looking at their own problems. It appears that the US is “more respected around the world.” Imperfect as we are, frustrated as we might be, slow as we have been to change — weʻre doing better, at least in this way.

Read the whole article to find out specifics about Obamaʻs ratings over European leaders and others. Laurenti does a thorough comparison.

His conclusion?: “Much as his partisan opponents might want to paint Obama as a star-crossed Jimmy Carter, that dog just won’t hunt. It’s Governor Romney’s determination to reprise the foreign policy of George Bush that terrifies many Americans — and most of the world.”

Here, we are effectively reminded that spin is never a sustainable criticism of a leader. My story about Obamaʻs leadership is very different from the Republican story, but the statistics tell a truth about public opinion in general that canʻt be ignored — well, unless weʻre determined to ignore it. And thatʻs just ignorant.

Leadership in a crisis, especially the kind Obama inherited, is never going to win popularity contests. Statistics like this help us step back, to assess just what public opinion (read popularity contests) can show — if we can step out of our own story, and pay attention to a larger picture.



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