A poll published Sunday in the New York Times newspaper indicates that Americans have high hopes for, and high confidence in, President-elect Barack Obama.

Seventy-nine percent of those polled said they are optimistic about the next four years under Mr. Obama. 

And 61 percent of the 1,100 Americans surveyed this month said they think the United States will be better off five years from now.  But, most Americans said they do not expect to see real progress for at least two years. 

A separate poll published Sunday indicates that citizens in 18 of 21 countries do not view the United States favorably, mostly because of U.S. policies towards human rights, citizen rights, and peace and cooperation.

That online poll of 22,000 people was conducted in late November for Reuters news agency by the international market research company Ipsos Global Public Affairs.  It shows that only India, Poland and the United States itself had majorities that gave the U.S. favorable ratings.

Ipsos polled people in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

Last week, President George Bush strongly disagreed with a reporter's assertion that the reputation of the U.S. had been tarnished overseas.  Mr. Bush countered that America's reputation might have been damaged only among some of the so-called "elite."

An Ipsos spokesman, Clifford Young, said the poll's results suggest that Mr. Obama's administration will need to address U.S. policies on human rights and peace and cooperation, if it wants to improve U.S. standing overseas.