Obama’s approval rating dips in India

WASHINGTON: Ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India, the approval rating of US leadership has fallen to its lowest since 2008 in the country where the decisions of his administration to hike visa fee for professionals and outsourcing have grabbed the headlines.

The approval rating of the US leadership has dropped by 13 percent? from 31 per cent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2010, the latest Gallup Poll said yesterday.

At the same time, the approval rating of the US leadership has shown sign of marked improvement, in the aftermath of the USD 7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill and massive flood relief work, in Pakistan where the approval rating has almost doubled from 10 per cent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2010.

Stepping up his campaign against outsourcing, Obama recently asserted his administration would offer tax benefits only to those firms which will create jobs in the country, a move that may hit Indian IT firms in a big way.

The move, which comes ahead of Obama’s visit to India in November, follows a controversial legislation that increased H-1B and L1 visa fees, hitting India’s over USD 50 billion IT industry.

Incidentally the approval rating of the American leadership in India and Pakistan is one of the lowest in the 18 Asian countries where the Gallup Survey was conducted.

However, while Pakistanis’ high disapproval (68 per cent) of US leadership largely explains their low approval number, the high percentage of Indians (72 percent) who don’t have an opinion largely explains theirs.

“Indians who do offer an opinion are more likely to approve than disapprove,” Gallup said.

In fact, in many other countries in the region where approval is lowest — Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Indonesia — about half or more of respondents do not have an opinion about US leadership, but those who do are more likely to approve than disapprove.

The number of respondents who express uncertainty about US leadership has increased significantly since 2008 in India, Vietnam, Nepal, and Indonesia, the poll said.

Gallup said Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries surveyed where a majority express disapproval of US leadership, at 68 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.

Approval in these two countries has varied over the last few years, it said.

-PTI

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