WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. leadership approval fell significantly in half of the 18 Latin American countries Gallup surveyed in 2010, taking the largest hits in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, and Honduras. Approval did not change significantly in the other half. After an initial surge when President Barack Obama took office, median approval fell to 44% in 2010 from 51% in 2009, but still remains up from 35% in 2008.
Approval of U.S. leadership is most favorable this year in Chile, El Salvador, and Panama, where 6 in 10 or more say they approve, and lowest in Paraguay and Argentina at 31%. However, it is important to note that disapproval does not exceed one-third in any country, and significant percentages do not express an opinion.
Latin Americans' predictions about relations between Latin America and the United States with Obama at the helm support the general decline in leadership approval in Latin America. In 2010, a median of 33% of Latin Americans say the relationship between Latin America and the United States would strengthen with Obama, down 10 percentage points from 2009. It also represents a shift from 2009, when a plurality said relations would strengthen; in 2010 similar percentages say relations will strengthen or remain the same. Still, less than 10% expect the relationship to weaken.
After the April 2009 Summit of the Americas, many of Latin America's leaders expressed optimism about future relations with Obama and the United States. However, since then the U.S. has focused heavily on domestic issues and other pressing international issues such as the war in Afghanistan. Gallup data indicate a perceived letdown in 2010 among residents in Latin American countries, including in some key partner countries such as Mexico.
Explore trends in U.S. leadership approval in more than 150 countries that Gallup surveys around the world.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in each country for each year reported in this article. For results based on each sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranged from a low of ±3.2 percentage points to a high of ±4.1 percentage points.