If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, do Americans see the U.S. as a global Cinderella or the world's ugly stepsister?
According to a new Gallup poll, Americans are more optimistic about their country's world standing and image than they had before. Gallup recorded the U.S. Global Status Index for 2013 to be 76, up from last year's 73 and the highest it's been since the end of George W. Bush's first term.
The index is a summary of three metrics based on questions asked in Gallup's annual World Affairs survey. The results paint a mixed picture on how Americans think about their leadership within the global context. While 55 percent of respondents believe the U.S. is viewed favorably in the world, a majority is still unhappy unhappy with their country's global standing, with only 40 percent answering that they are satisfied with America's position in the world.
The third question addresses President Obama's international prestige. Fifty-one percent of respondents believed other leaders respect the U.S. president -- the lowest since Obama took office in 2009 (67 percent), but still more than double the perception of Bush's international approval ratings by the end of his term in 2008.
As Gallup notes, the fluctuations throughout the decade reflect game-changing global events that severely shifted perceptions in both directions: the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq war, and the election of Barack Obama.
"Americans' perceptions of the United States' status in the world have improved somewhat since the depths recorded during the Iraq war, which received lackluster international support and even criticism from some allies," the report states. "However, the biggest gains are in perceptions of how the U.S. president is viewed internationally."
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To view the entire report on Gallup, click here.