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Gallup 041612 US-LA relations

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gallup Opinion Briefing: United States-Latin America Relations

By Peter Cynkar

Quick Summary: U.S. President Barack Obama's job approval rating in Latin America is at a new low ahead of the Sixth Summit of the Americas taking place in Cartagena, Colombia. Obama's median job approval rating in the region rating stands at 47% in 2011, down from 62% in 2009. Many Latin Americans have lost faith in Obama's ability to strengthen ties between Latin America and the U.S.: A median of 24% across the Latin American countries Gallup surveyed in 2011 believe relations will strengthen with Obama, down from 43% in 2009.

Issue at Hand: Gallup data suggest Obama will likely face a skeptical audience at the summit, which will focus on the role of "physical integration and regional cooperation" as a way to help overcome challenges in areas such as security, technology access, and poverty. Many Latin Americans lack faith that partnerships between the U.S. and Latin American countries will get stronger with Obama.

Obama Administration's Stance: Obama heads to the summit seeking to strengthen commercial ties, specifically in the energy sector. At the last summit in 2009, Obama promoted a shift in U.S.-Latin America relations that would be based on an "equal partnership" that would usher in a "new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my [Obama's] administration." This "new chapter" would focus on common economic prosperity issues, reduce inequality in the Americas, promote security, and create energy partnerships.

Latin Americans' Outlook for Relations under Obama: Latin Americans are less likely now to believe that U.S.-Latin America relations will get stronger than they were at the beginning of Obama's presidency, with a median of 24% saying this across 21 countries surveyed in 2011, down from 43% across 18 countries in 2009.

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For the complete Gallup article please link to "Opinion Briefing: U.S.-Latin America Relations -- Latin Americans losing faith in Obama's ability to strengthen ties," U.S. Foreign Policy Opinion Briefings, Gallup; Apr. 12, 2012.  Reprint with permission.


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