Arab Opinion: Bush Bad, Obama Good
"Nearly half of Arabs polled in the last two months in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates said they had a “very positive” (11%) or “somewhat positive” (34%) view of Obama. Contrast that with George Bush, who Arabs regularly cited as the world leader they disliked the most. In the current 2009 poll, Obama does not register among disliked leaders, but Bush even out of office remains the No. 1 most disliked at 61%.
"The Saudis tend to view things more through a Muslim prism and may be drawn to Obama's Muslim background, his middle name of Hussein, etc.—indeed, many in the Middle East believe that Obama is a Muslim. "
In my experience, that's a sea-change in Arab attitudes. It's even more interesting if you look at Obama's ratings in individual countries. In Saudi Arabia, native land of Osama bin Laden, Obama is viewed very positively by 10% and somewhat positively by another 69% for a remarkable approval rating of 79%. If you throw in those who call themselves neutral, the figure goes up to 86%."