News / Asia

    Q&A with Frank Newport: Asians' Thoughts on US Leadership

    President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    A recent Gallup poll found the worldwide median approval rating of U.S. leadership was 46 percent last year. Gallup, which polled 130 countries across the globe, says that's up from 41 percent in 2012. In Asia, the median approval rating of U.S. leadership was close to 45 percent, and up more significantly from 37 percent in 2012.  The most recent approval ratings in Asia are also the highest recorded by Gallup during both the Obama and Bush administrations. 
     
    Daybreak Asia's Ashley Westerman further explores what's behind the numbers with Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport.
     
    NEWPORT: We, as is true in all polling, don’t know exactly why [there has been an increase] because we don’t probe the respondents as to why they have the feelings they do, but it may have to do with trade agreements in the region, some things along those lines, relationships between this county and the region in general. It may have to do with the improved image on the part of President Obama, who is a big part, but not totally, of U.S. leadership. Or it may have to do with some things we’re not familiar with at all about what it might be the cause. But all we know is, although it’s gone up and down some, clearly last year in 2013, it’s higher than we have seen it in previous years.
     
    WESTERMAN: President Obama is actually in Asia right now on a week-long trip visiting Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea. How are the U.S. leadership approval ratings in those countries and can you give me any context to those numbers?
     
    NEWPORT: Certainly I can. Of those countries over the last several years, by far the Philippines has been the most positive, maybe reflecting our historic relation with that country. Last year, 62 residents interviewed in the Philippines said they approved of U.S. leadership and that was actually among Asian countries only behind Cambodia and was tied with New Zealand. Otherwise, nobody was higher of the large number of Asian countries in which we interviewed people.
     
    South Korean, however, is not far behind and, again, the U.S. has a strong historic relationship with that country including the significant military presence there in their defense against North Korea. Fifty-eight percent of South Korean residents said they approved of U.S. leadership.
     
    Japan was down the list of 46 percent. That’s about the average approval for all countries around the world, so that’s neither good nor bad. It’s down a little from where it had been but Japanese residents at the moment are about average.
     
    We didn’t have data from Malaysia for last year. But previous to that, in some previous years their approval rate of U.S. leadership has been even below Japan, even in the 30 percent range.
     
    WESTERMAN: Since President Obama is doing this trip early in the year, do you think the U.S. leadership approval rating for these countries will be higher next year?
     
    NEWPORT: One might assume it would because I think residents of countries typically are flattered when a major world leader visits the country and spends time with the residents of the country and, of course, with the leaders. So one could expect it would go up. Of course, it may depend in part on how the visit and its results are interpreted both now and in the future by the press in those countries, was it a success or now and so forth. But I would anticipate that probably, and this is just a guess, the residents of those countries may be more positive as result of the visits than they would have had if the President had not visited.
     
    WESTERMAN: How does Asia’s high job approval rating for U.S. leadership compare to what Gallup found throughout the rest of the world?
     
    NEWPORT: We rate the world in the four regions: Asia, Europe, the Americas - of course not with the U.S. because we’re not taking into account how Americans rate their own leadership - and then Africa. Asia is certainly higher than both Europe and the Americas with its overall median of 45 percent approval. Europe’s at 41 and the Americas, which is primarily Central and South America, is at 40 percent so that’s a positive for Asia. But there’s no question, Africa is ahead of everybody else. Sixty-four percent of the residents of Africa in 2013, the median approved of the leadership of the U.S. And Asia, I would say, comes in second.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.