A fascinating new poll is out today that shows Barack Obama’s foreign policy approval rating has plummeted over the last two months.

On May 1 the Quinnipiac poll found that 47 per cent of Americans approved of Mr Obama’s handling of foreign policy, while 43 per cent disapproved. Two months later the same pollster has Mr Obama running a 12-point negative rating – 52 per cent disapprove, compared with 40 that approve.

That’s a sharp fall, given the fact that it comes after one of the busiest periods in Mr Obama’s presidency for foreign policy. There was the shirt-sleeve summit with China’s new president, the decision to do more in Syria, the announcement of talks with the Taliban and now, of course the coup-that-wasn’t in Egypt.

The numbers are telling because they point to a central contradiction of the Obama presidency – how is it that man who expresses such a clear vision at home can look so muddled abroad?

The same polls shows that Obama is seen as “trustworthy” (50-44) by a majority of Americans, caring for the common man (52-45), and a strong leader (52-46) who also get’s the thumbs-up for his handling of “terrorism” (52-43).

And yet those qualities don’t translate into his foreign policy ratings, and the reason is that in that arena, Mr Obama has displayed none of those characteristics lately.

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