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Thursday 11 February 2010

Global Poll Finds Decline in Positive Views of Canada

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Public views of Canada’s influence have worsened during the last year, particularly in the USA, Britain, and China, according to a new worldwide BBC World Service poll across 18 countries.

The poll of more than 20,000 people, which was conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA, reveals that as Vancouver prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, ratings of Canada’s influence in the world by some of Canada’s major trading partners have declined sharply for the first time since tracking began in 2005.

Several countries saw sharp falls in positive ratings of Canada—in the USA the proportion rating Canadian influence as positive fell from 82 per cent to 67 per cent, in the UK from 74 per cent to 62 per cent, in Australia from 77 per cent to 72 per cent, and in China from 75 per cent to 54 per cent.  Overall, comparing views in 15 of the countries that were surveyed last year, the proportion rating Canadian influence in the world as mainly positive has fallen on average from 57 per cent to 53 per cent.

The numbers giving Canada a negative rating remained broadly steady compared to last year, but those saying that Canada’s influence was neither negative nor positive overall increased.

Canadians themselves are also less positive about their country’s influence than in 2009, with 75 per cent now rating Canada’s influence in the world as positive, compared to 86 per cent last year. 

France, the Philippines, and South Korea emerged as the nations most positive about Canadian influence, while Pakistan, Turkey, India, and Mexico were among the most negative.

Until this year, perceptions of Canadian influence had been on the rise in many countries. Results last year showed a year-on-year improvement in positive ratings for Canada in China, the Philippines, the UK, and the USA—but in all these cases positive ratings have now fallen back, sometimes sharply.

Views of Canada improved in a few countries in the survey—in Germany the proportion feeling it had a positive influence in the world rose from 64 per cent in 2009 to 73 per cent this year, while in Russia positive views rose from 36 per cent to 44 per cent.

Despite the fall, Canada is expected to remain among the most positively viewed countries when results on the way other major nations are perceived are released by the BBC in April. In last year’s poll conducted in 22 countries, only Germany was felt to have a more positive influence in the world than Canada.

The results are drawn from a survey of 20,176 adult citizens across 18 countries, conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between 30 November 2009 and 26 January 2010.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “This is the first time in our five years of tracking we’ve seen a worsening of Canada’s image around the world. Negative media coverage of Canada’s environmental policies may be partly to blame. 

“With the Vancouver Winter Olympics about to begin, followed in June by the G8/G20 Summit in Canada, it will be interesting to see how Canada’s reputation will end the year.”

Participating Countries

Note: In China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Turkey urban samples were used. Please see the Methodology for further details.

For more details, please visit www.GlobeScan.com as well as the GlobeScan Insights blog at http://globescaninsights.blogspot.com.


Media Contacts

For media interviews with the participating pollsters, please contact:

Sam Mountford, Research Director
GlobeScan Incorporated, London
+44 20 7253 1447
(Mobile: +44 7854 132625)

Oliver Martin, Director Global Development
GlobeScan Incorporated, Toronto
+1 416 969 3073
(Mobile: +1 416 721 3544)

GlobeScan Incorporated is an international opinion research consultancy. We provide global organisations with evidence-based insight to help them set strategy and shape their communications. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs trust GlobeScan for our unique expertise across reputation management, sustainability and stakeholder relations. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is ISO 9001-2008 quality certified and a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London, San Francisco, and Washington DC. www.GlobeScan.com

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 188 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite, and cable channels. It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. For more information, visit bbcworldservice.com. To find out more about the BBC’s English language offerings and subscribe to a free e-newsletter, visit bbcworldservice.com/schedules.