James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "Public Opinion"

Which Countries Do Americans Like? Do Other Countries Like Us?

by James M. Lindsay
Media workers walk past a screen showing flags of the participating countries during the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea (Jo Yon-Hak/Courtesy Reuters). Media workers walk past a screen showing flags of the participating countries during the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea (Jo Yon-Hak/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with the results of a poll it did last month asking Americans whether they have favorable or unfavorable views about twenty-two other countries. Gallup has been asking this question every February for a dozen years, and the overall results have been consistent. Americans have a soft spot for fellow English-speaking countries, and they take a dim view of Middle Eastern countries. Read more »

How Do Obama’s First Term Job Approval Ratings Compare to Past Presidents?

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to supporters during the inaugural parade in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to supporters during the inaugural parade in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup released a report yesterday showing that Barack Obama averaged a 49.1 percent job approval rating over his first term. How does that compare with other post-World War II presidents? Not terribly well.  As the chart below shows, only Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter fared worse. Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, averaged a 62.2 percent job approval rating over his first term. (That thirteen-point advantage compared to Obama owes in good part to the historic rally-‘round-the-flag bump that Bush enjoyed after September 11). Read more »

Americans Oppose Intervention in Syria

by James M. Lindsay
A damaged area of Syria is pictured after a car bomb near Damascus on December 13 (SANA/Courtesy Reuters). A damaged area of Syria is pictured after a car bomb near Damascus on December 13 (SANA/Courtesy Reuters).

The Pew Research Center is out with a new poll today on U.S. public attitudes toward Syria. The results are unambiguous: Americans want nothing to do with the civil war that has now killed almost 40,000 Syrians. More than six-in-ten respondents (63 percent) say that the United States does not have a responsibility to do something to end the fighting in Syria. A slightly higher number (65 percent) opposes even arming rebel groups in Syria. Read more »

The World Next Week: Hurricane Sandy Revives Climate Change Talk, Americans Vote for President, and China Appoints New Leaders

by James M. Lindsay
An American flag stands on top of the devastated Rockaway beach boardwalk in Queens after Hurricane Sandy (Shannon Stapleton/ Courtesy Reuters). An American flag stands on top of the devastated Rockaway beach boardwalk in Queens after Hurricane Sandy (Shannon Stapleton/ Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; next week’s presidential election; and China’s change in leadership. Read more »

Obama and Romney Set to Focus on the Middle East

by James M. Lindsay
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama point fingers during the second presidential debate. (Mike Segar/ courtesy Reuters) Mitt Romney and Barack Obama point fingers during the second presidential debate. (Mike Segar/ courtesy Reuters)

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney meet tonight in Boca Raton, Florida to debate foreign policy. Both campaigns see the third and final debate as their best opportunity to reach the public before Election Day. The two candidates will be speaking to voters who expect to hear affirmations of U.S. leadership but who are also skeptical of foreign entanglements in the midst of tough economic times and after more than a decade of war. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Five Memorable Foreign Policy Moments in Presidential Debates

by James M. Lindsay
John McCain and Barack Obama debate foreign policy at the University of Mississippi in 2008. (Jim Bourg/ courtesy Reuters) John McCain and Barack Obama debate foreign policy at the University of Mississippi in 2008. (Jim Bourg/ courtesy Reuters)

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney meet tonight in Boca Raton, Florida to debate foreign policy. Both men hope that what they say will move voters in their direction. But that’s not always how debates go. Here are five memorable moments from past debates when presidents took on foreign policy. Read more »

TWE Remembers: JFK Campaigns While the ExCom Debates Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Four)

by James M. Lindsay
Abraham Lincoln's tomb which President John F. Kennedy visited after speaking at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 19, 1962. (Frank Polich/ courtesy Reuters) Abraham Lincoln's tomb which President John F. Kennedy visited after speaking at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on October 19, 1962. (Frank Polich/ courtesy Reuters)

Presidents aren’t just government leaders, they are also party leaders. So they frequently leave the White House in the weeks before midterm congressional elections to campaign for their fellow party members. That’s precisely what President John F. Kennedy found himself doing on Friday, October 19, 1962, the fourth day of the Cuban missile crisis. Read more »

New Pew Poll Finds the Public Split on the Candidates and Skeptical About the Middle East

by James M. Lindsay
Sailors stand during a commissioning ceremony for the USS Michael Murphy in New York on October 6, 2012. (Keith Bedford/ courtesy Reuters) Sailors stand during a commissioning ceremony for the USS Michael Murphy in New York on October 6, 2012. (Keith Bedford/ courtesy Reuters)

In advance of next week’s third and final presidential debate, the Pew Research Center is out with the results of a new foreign policy poll. Pew finds Americans split on whether President Obama or Governor Romney would fare better in foreign affairs, skeptical of where things are headed in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and open (at least in theory) to talking tough to China on trade. Read more »

The World Next Week: Obama and Romney Debate Again, Libya One Year After Qaddafi, and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

by James M. Lindsay
Romney and Obama debate in Denver on October 3, 2012. (Jim Bourg/ courtesy Reuters) Romney and Obama debate in Denver on October 3, 2012. (Jim Bourg/ courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the second presidential debate; where Libya stands one year after the death of Muammar Qaddafi; and the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. Read more »

The World Next Week: Biden and Ryan Debate, Venezuela Votes, and the Nobel Peace Prize Is Awarded

by James M. Lindsay
Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, which hosted a vice presidential debate on October 4, 2000, will host another vice presidential debate on October 11, 2012. (Jeff Christensen/ courtesy Reuters) Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, which hosted a vice presidential debate on October 4, 2000, will host another vice presidential debate on October 11, 2012. (Jeff Christensen/ courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the vice presidential debate; presidential elections in Venezuela; and nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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