With John Kerry visiting Paris this week on his first diplomatic trip as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, confidence in the president of the United States, as measured in a spring 2012 survey, remains very high in France. (See our infographic for more information on how countries on Kerry’s tour view America.)

In 2012, 86% of those surveyed in France expressed confidence in Obama to do the right thing regarding international affairs; only 14% said they had little or no confidence in him. This was little changed from 2009, when Obama first entered office.

But it represented a drastic change from George W. Bush’s ratings in France when he was president. In 2008, only 13% of the French had confidence in Bush to do the right thing regarding global affairs. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) said they lacked confidence in the U.S. president. The French showed little confidence in Bush throughout his two terms.

The dramatic change in views of the U.S. president from 2008 to 2009 was consistent across most of Europe and also contributed to higher ratings for the U.S. in general. (See: Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World.) Since 2009, however, global opinion of the U.S. and its president has slipped somewhat amid dissatisfaction with Obama’s international policies. Read more