Global Views of USA Improve
After years of becoming progressively more negative, public views of the United States have begun to improve, according to a BBC World Service Poll across 34 countries.
While views of US influence in the world are still predominantly negative, they have improved in 11 of the 23 countries the BBC polled a year ago, while worsening in just three countries.
The average percentage saying that the US is having a positive influence has increased from 31 per cent a year ago to 35 per cent today while the view that it is having a negative influence has declined from 52 per cent to 47 per cent.
Looking just at the countries that have been polled in each of the last four years, positive views of the US eroded from 2005 (38% on average), to 2006 (32%), and to 2007 (28%); recovering for the first time this year to 32 per cent.
People were asked to rate Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the USA and the European Union, as having a mainly positive or negative influence in the world.
As was the case a year ago, Iran and Israel receive the most negative ratings. While negative views of Israel have eased over the last year from 57 to 52 per cent, negative views of Iran’s influence have held steady at 54 per cent making it the most negatively rated of the countries tested. Pakistan follows Israel as the third most poorly rated country.
Similar to last year, Japan is among the most positively rated countries. However, it comes a close second to Germany which is included in the ratings for the first time. The European Union comes third.
The country with the greatest improvement is Russia. Positive views of Russia have risen on average from 29 per cent to 37 per cent and negative views have fallen from 40 per cent to 33 per cent. In 12 countries, the view of Russia grew more positive.
The BBC World Service Poll has been tracking opinions about country influence in the world since 2005. These latest results are based on 17,457 in-home or telephone interviews conducted across a total of 34 countries (including the 23 tracking countries) by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between October 31, 2007 and January 25, 2008.
Steven Kull, director of PIPA comments, “It may be that as the US approaches a new presidential election, views of the US are being mitigated by hope that a new administration will move away from the foreign policies that have been so unpopular in the world.”GlobeScan president Doug Miller added: “The poll suggests that Iran continues to pay a price for its nuclear stand-off with the United Nations. World opinion continues to see it as the country having the most negative influence.”
For media interviews with the participating pollsters, please contact:
Doug Miller, President
Steven Kull, Director
GlobeScan Incorporated is a global public opinion and stakeholder research consultancy with offices in Toronto, London, and Washington. GlobeScan conducts custom research and annual tracking studies on global issues. With a research network spanning 50+ countries, GlobeScan works with global companies, multilateral agencies, national governments, and non-government organizations to deliver research-based insights for successful strategies.
The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. PIPA undertakes research on attitudes in publics around the world on a variety of international issues and manages WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative project on public opinion, involving research centres from around the world.
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