June 4th, 2009 11:53 EST
Obama Blitz Winning the German Hearts and Minds
Many Oppose Continuing Afghan Mission
According to a new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of the German public, when President Obama speaks to Germans on Friday, he will encounter an audience that is not only positive about Obama himself, but is beginning to lean positively toward the US as well.
At the same time, disagreements remain on US policies on climate change, the use of military force in general, and, most importantly, the operation in Afghanistan.
A striking 89 percent of Germans say they have confidence in Obama to "do the right thing in world affairs."
For the first time since the Iraq war a plurality of Germans express positive views of the US. Forty-four percent of Germans now say the US is playing a mainly positive role in the world, while 34 percent see it as playing a negative role. In 2008 BBC found only 20 percent thinking the US was a positive influence, and Pew found just 31 percent who viewed the US favorably.
The number of Germans who think the US treats Germany fairly has jumped to 48 percent from 33 percent in August 2008. Forty-two percent still say the US "abuses its greater power to make us do what the US wants," but this is down from 61 percent.
A modest majority (54%) currently sees the US as "generally cooperative with other countries"; while 27 percent say it is not (19 percent say "it depends" or do not answer).
Barack Obama on a campaign visit to Berlin, Germany in July 2008 (Photo: David Katz/Obama for America)