Two Years After The President’s Nobel Peace Prize, 48% Say The Prize Was A Mistake

October 13, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Americans are even less likely today to approve of the Nobel Committee’s decision to award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama than they were two years ago, immediately after the award was announced. And according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, their opinion of the decisions made by the Nobel Committee — which is about to announce this year’s winner — has also gotten worse.

Two years ago, a plurality of the public believed that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee generally made good decisions. This year, opinion is much more divided, and the percentage that agrees the committee makes good decisions has dropped 17 points. 

There is a very partisan divide. Democrats say the Nobel Committee makes good decisions 47% to 8%, Republicans say it doesn’t by an even larger margin.

That question was asked of half the sample in each poll. The other half was asked how they felt about the committee after being reminded that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to people like Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. In 2009, Al Gore was on the list, in 2011, Barack Obama’s name replaced Gore’s. The Nobel Committee fared just about as poorly when names of winners were included — and here, too, approval has declined since 2009. 

Many Americans believe the decision to award Barack Obama the 2009 Peace Prize was simply wrong. Twice as many now disapprove as approve (in 2009, disapproval outpaced approval by only 10 points. 

Although a majority of the President’s partisans approve of the award, 20% of them don’t and another 20% of Democrats aren’t sure. And while Democrats might approve in principle, most aren’t sure the President really deserved the Peace Prize. Half of Democrats are happy he won, but think the Nobel Committee should have waited longer before considering him. And 16% of Democrats say the prize was a mistake.

That percentage is much higher among the public overall, 48% of whom now say the award to Obama was a mistake — up seven points from two years ago. 

Photo source: Press Association

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

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