Public diplomacy by the numbers

Reports from multi-national opinion surveys on U.S. standing, 2002-2007

2008 and later results

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Survey reports ...

September 2007: Action Needed on Global Warming (

Developed and Developing Countries Agree: Action Needed on Global Warming

Large majorities around the world believe that human activity causes global warming and that strong action must be taken, sooner rather than later, in developing as well as developed countries, according to a BBC World Service poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.

An average of eight in ten (79%) say that "human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change."

Nine out of ten say that action is necessary to address global warming. A substantial majority (65%) choose the strongest position, saying that "it is necessary to take major steps starting very soon." ...

The poll shows majority support (73% on average) in all but two countries polled for an agreement in which developing countries would limit their emissions in return for financial assistance and technology from developed countries....

In no country does more than one in three disagree with the view that "human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change." In all except one country, two-thirds or more endorse this view. The one exception is India where 47 percent attribute climate change to human activity, 21 percent disagree and 33 percent do not answer.

In 13 of 21 countries, at least twice as many call for "major steps starting very soon” as think “modest steps over the coming years" will suffice. In no country does a majority say that no steps are necessary and on average less than one in ten say this.

A key growing economy with a large majority in favor of significant action is China. Seventy percent of urban Chinese respondents believe major steps are needed quickly to address climate change.

There is a widespread consensus that developing countries should take action on climate along with developed countries. Just three countries opt instead for the position that less-wealthy countries should not be expected to limit emissions: Egypt, Nigeria and Italy....

In all but one of the developing countries polled, the weight of opinion is towards agreeing to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the context of a deal that requires the wealthy countries to provide aid and technology. The only country with a substantial minority opposing such a deal is Nigeria (46%). All of the developed countries polled endorse the idea by large margins including the United States (70%), Canada (84%), Great Britain (81%), France (78%), Germany (75%), and Australia (84%).

A total of 22,182 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between May 29 and July 26, 2007. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In eight of the 21 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 3.5 percent.

September 2007: Global Majority, including the U.S., Wants Troops Out of Iraq Within a Year (BBC/PIPA)

A majority of citizens across the world (67%) think US-led forces should leave Iraq within a year, according to a BBC World Service poll of 23,000 people across 22 countries. Just one in four (23%) think foreign troops should remain in Iraq until security improves.

However, half of those polled (49%) believe the United States plans to keep permanent military bases in Iraq. Another 36 percent believe the US will withdraw all forces once Iraq is stabilized.

Three in five Americans (61%) think US forces should get out of Iraq within a year, including 24 percent who favor immediate withdrawal and 37 percent who prefer a one year timetable. Another 32 percent of Americans say the forces should stay until security improves....

Comparing the current results with those from a BBC World Service poll released in February 2006, there appears to be growing support for a definite end to foreign deployments in Iraq. While question wording differed, support for troops remaining until security improves has dropped sharply overall, and is today half what it was in early 2006 across Western European and North American countries surveyed, including the US.

Today, majorities in 19 of the 22 countries surveyed think troops should be out of Iraq within a year. This view is endorsed by an average of 67 percent, including 39 percent who want the troops out immediately and 28 percent who think they should be withdrawn gradually according to a one-year timetable.

Muslim countries are among those most eager for the US-led forces to withdraw from Iraq immediately: Indonesia (65%), Turkey (64%), and Egypt (58%). But Latin Americans—Mexico (68%) and Brazil (54%)—also favor immediate withdrawal. Nearly half of those polled in Chile believe foreign troops should leave Iraq now (44%) and an additional 28 percent say they should go within a year....

In total 23,193 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between May 29 and July 26, 2007. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In eight of the 22 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 3.5 percent.

June 2007: Global Unease with Major World Powers and Leaders (Pew Global Attitudes Project)

47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey Finds Rising Environmental Concerns

A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world's dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. At the same time, the image of China has slipped significantly among the publics of other major nations. Opinion about Russia is mixed, but confidence in its president, Vladimir Putin, has declined sharply. In fact, the Russian leader's negatives have soared to the point that they mirror the nearly worldwide lack of confidence in George W. Bush.

Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. Western European publics are at best divided about keeping troops there. In nearly every predominantly Muslim country, overwhelming majorities want U.S. and NATO troops withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible. In addition, global support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism ebbs ever lower. And the United States is the nation blamed most often for hurting the world's environment, at a time of rising global concern about environmental issues.

At the same time, China's expanding economic and military power is triggering considerable anxiety. Large majorities in many countries think that China's growing military might is a bad thing, and the publics of many advanced nations are increasingly concerned about the impact of China's economic power on their own countries.

Russia and its president also are unpopular in many countries of the world. But criticisms of that nation and its leader are sharpest in Western Europe where many citizens worry about overdependence on the Russian energy supply. For instance, despite sharp declines in favorable views of the U.S. in France and Germany since 2002, Russia's image in those countries is no better....

The Pew survey finds a general increase in the percentage of people citing pollution and environmental problems as a top global threat. Worries have risen sharply in Latin America and Europe, as well as in Japan and India. Many people blame the United States – and to a lesser extent China – for these problems and look to Washington to do something about them....

In the current poll, majorities in 25 of the 47 countries surveyed express positive views of the U.S. Since 2002, however, the image of the United States has declined in most parts of the world. Favorable ratings of America are lower in 26 of 33 countries for which trends are available.

The U.S. image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, and continues to decline among the publics of many of America's oldest allies. Favorable views of the U.S. are in single digits in Turkey (9%) and have declined to 15% in Pakistan. Currently, just 30% of Germans have a positive view of the U.S. – down from 42% as recently as two years ago – and favorable ratings inch ever lower in Great Britain and Canada....

The surveys for this report were conducted in April-May 2007 in the United States and 46 other countries, using either in-person or telephone interviews. In all but eight of the countries, the surveys used national samples, while the eight non-national samples drew respondents from urban areas. See page 75 of the full report for the list of countries and methods used.

April 2007: World Publics Reject US Role as the World Leader (GlobeScan/PIPA)

A multinational poll finds that publics around the world reject the idea that the United States should play the role of preeminent world leader. Most publics say the United States plays the role of world policeman more than it should, fails to take their country’s interests into account and cannot be trusted to act responsibly.

But the survey also finds that majorities in most countries want the United States to participate in international efforts to address world problems. Views are divided about whether the United States should reduce the number of military bases it has overseas. Moreover, many publics think their country’s relations with the United States are improving....

Majorities in all 15 of the publics polled about the United States’ role in the world reject the idea that “as the sole remaining superpower, the US should continue to be the preeminent world leader in solving international problems.” However majorities in only two publics (Argentina and the Palestinian territories) say that the United States "should withdraw from most efforts to solve international problems." The preferred view in all of the other cases is that the United States "should do its share in efforts to solve international problems together with other countries." ...

Majorities in 13 out of 15 publics polled say the United States is "playing the role of world policeman more than it should be." This is the sentiment of about three-quarters or more of those polled in: France (89%), Australia (80%), China (77%), Russia (76%), Peru (76%), the Palestinian territories (74%) and South Korea (73%)....

In 10 out of 15 countries, the most common view is that the United States cannot be trusted to "act responsibly in the world." Respondents were allowed to choose whether the United States could be trusted "a great deal," "somewhat," "not very much" or "not at all." ...

Of the seven countries polled on this question, five believe the United States does not take their interests into account when making foreign policy decisions. Only in Israel does a large majority believe that the United States takes their interest into account. Indians are divided. In the other five countries, majorities or pluralities answer “not very much” or “not at all” when asked whether the United States takes their interests into account....

Despite the widespread belief that the United States should not be the world’s preeminent leader and that it plays the role of world policeman more than it should, countries express mixed views about whether the United States should reduce its military presence around the world. Nonetheless, very few support increasing the number of bases.

Twelve publics were asked whether the United States should have more, fewer or the same number of long-term bases overseas. In six of them, including the US public, majorities or pluralities think the United States should maintain or increase the number of bases it maintains overseas. In five countries, majorities call for reductions. One country—India, again—is divided....

This is the fourth in a series of reports based on a worldwide poll about key international issues conducted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and, in cooperation with polling organizations around the world. The larger study includes polls in China , India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel and Armenia—plus the Palestinian territories. The publics polled represent about 56 percent of the world’s population. Not all questions were asked in all countries. The surveys were conducted between June 2006 and March 2007.

February 2007: Religion and Culture are Not to Blame for Tensions between Islam and the West (Globescan/PIPA/BBC)

Chief culprit: political power and interests

The global public believes that tensions between Islam and the West arise from conflicts over political power and interests and not from differences of religion and culture, according to a BBC World Service poll across 27 countries.

The survey of over 28,000 respondents across 27 countries was conducted for the 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 the fieldwork between November 2006 and January 2007.

While three in ten (29%) believe religious or cultural differences are the cause of tensions, a slight majority (52%) say tensions are due to conflicting interests. The poll also reveals that most people see the problems arising from intolerant minorities and not the cultures as a whole. While 26 percent believe fundamental differences in cultures are to blame, 58 percent say intolerant minorities are causing the conflict with most of these (39% of the full sample) saying that the intolerant minorities are on both sides.

The idea that violent conflict is inevitable between Islam and the West is mainly rejected by Muslims, non-Muslims and Westerners alike. While more than a quarter of all respondents (28%) think that violent conflict is inevitable, twice as many (56%) believe that "common ground can be found."

In total 28,389 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States were interviewed between 3 November 2006 and 16 January 2007. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In 10 of the 27 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.5 to 4 percent.

January 2007: World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse (GlobeScan/PIPA)

The global view of the United States’ role in world affairs has significantly deteriorated over the last year according to a BBC World Service poll of more than 26,000 people across 25 different countries.

As the United States government prepares to send a further 21,500 troops to Iraq, the survey reveals that three in four (73%) disapprove of how the US government has dealt with Iraq.

The poll shows that in the 18 countries that were previously polled, the average percentage saying that the United States is having a mainly positive influence in the world has dropped seven points from a year ago--from 36 percent to 29 percent—after having already dropped four points the year before. Across all 25 countries polled, one citizen in two (49%) now says the US is playing a mainly negative role in the world.

Over two-thirds (68%) believe the US military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents and only 17 percent believes US troops there are a stabilizing force.

The poll shows that world citizens disapprove of the way the US government has handled all six of the foreign policy areas explored. After the Iraq war (73% disapproval), majorities across the 25 countries also disapprove of US handling of Guantanamo detainees (67%), the Israeli-Hezbollah war (65%), Iran’s nuclear program (60%), global warming (56%), and North Korea’s nuclear program (54%)....

In total 26,381 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States were interviewed between 3 November 2006 and 9 January 2007. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In 10 of the 25 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.5 to 4 percent.

December 2006: Continuing Conflict in Iraq and Palestine Deepens U.S. - Arab Rift with Growing Costs to Both Sides (Zogby International)

Trends point to challenges U.S. faces as identified in Iraq Study Group Report

Attitudes toward the U.S. from those in the Arab world have suffered greatly as a result of American foreign policy in the region, according to an Arab American Institute/Zogby International poll released 14 December 2006.

The results suggest that uncertainty resulting from conflicts in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon have dampened Arab confidence in U.S. leadership and prospects for economic development and political stability. Other findings ...

  • Overall Arab attitudes toward U.S. have worsened; negative attitudes have hardened.
  • Attitudes toward U.S. policies in Iraq and Palestine are to blame, according to respondents.
  • Attitudes toward American values, people and culture have declined as well.
  • Uncertainty resulting these two conflicts suggests that Arab confidence has significantly dampened in prospects for economic development and political stability.

Results for this survey are based on face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Zogby International in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon. All surveys are based on urban samples except in Lebanon where the sample was nationwide.

July 2006: Little support for tough action on Iran (GlobeScan/PIPA)

World opinion does not favor aggressive international measures to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to a new 25-nation opinion poll conducted for BBC World Service, including the USA, the UK and Iraq. The poll was conducted for the BBC by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes.

The findings show that only one citizen in five (17%), across the 25 countries, believe that Iran is producing nuclear fuel strictly for energy needs, while 60 percent assume that Iran is also trying to develop nuclear weapons. Asked what the international community should do if Iran continues to produce nuclear fuel, the most popular approach is using only diplomatic efforts (39%), while only 11 percent favor military strikes. An average of 72 percent of those questioned said they would be very (43%) or somewhat concerned (29%) if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons.

The poll also revealed that 52 percent of people across all countries favor a new effort to have the UN seek to prevent additional countries from developing nuclear fuel, which can be enriched further for use in nuclear weapons. Only one in three (33%) favored preserving the existing system (based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty) that prohibits new countries from developing nuclear weapons but not from developing nuclear fuel....

Majorities in every country polled also say they would be concerned "if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons." On average 72 percent say they would be concerned and just 17 percent say they would not. In only two countries do the number saying that they are not concerned rise above one in three—Indonesia (40%) and Iraq (34%). However, overall only 43 percent say they are "very concerned" and in only nine countries does this represent a majority. These include the US (72%, very concerned), Great Britain (67%), Australia (67%), Italy (65%), Israel (64%), Canada (63%), Brazil (57%), Germany (57%), and Poland (52%).

In total 27,407 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States were interviewed between 26 May and 6 July 2006....

June 2006: Europe, India See US as Violating International Law at Guantánamo (

Large majorities in Germany and Great Britain, and pluralities in Poland and India, believe the United States has committed violations of international law at its prison on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, including the use of torture in interrogations.

Large numbers oppose letting the United States use their airspace when transferring terrorism suspects to countries that use torture. The U.S. image as a promoter of human rights has deteriorated sharply in Germany and Great Britain....

Respondents were asked: “Is it your impression that current U.S. policies for detaining people it has captured and is holding in Guantanamo Bay are or are not legal, according to international treaties on the treatment of detainees?” Majorities in Germany (85%) and Great Britain (65%) said the policies were illegal. Pluralities in Poland (50% to 18%) and India (34% to 28%) agreed, though in both countries large percentages (32% and 38%, respectively) did not answer....

The poll documents a dramatic deterioration in the United States’ reputation as an effective advocate of human rights in the world. Majorities in Germany (78%) and Great Britain (56%) said the U.S. government did a “bad job” of promoting human rights. Eight years ago, fewer than one in four Germans (24%) and Britons (22%) rated U.S. performance in this area as "bad." ...

These are some of the results from a new multinational poll by Polling organizations in Great Britain, Germany, Poland and India surveyed over 1,000 people in each country during June 2006.

July 2006: Concerns grow over energy use (GlobeScan/PIPA)

The largest majorities worldwide express concern about the impact of energy policy on the environment. Robust majorities in all 19 countries, especially among respondents with higher education, express concern that “the way the world produces and uses energy is causing environmental problems, including climate change.” Overall, an average of 81 percent expresses concern about this, with 47 percent saying they are very concerned. The highest levels of concern are found in Australia (94%, 69% very), Great Britain (93%, 66% very), Canada (91%, 62% very), and Italy (91%, 60% very). Least concerned are the Poles (57%, 17% very). Also relatively unconcerned are the Indians (61%, 41% very) and Russians (66%, 20% very).

With oil prices hitting record levels in recent weeks, majorities of 60 percent or more in 18 of the 19 countries polled say they fear “that energy shortages and prices will destabilize the world economy.” On average, 77 percent express concern about this, including 39 percent who say they are very concerned. Concern about the effect of rising prices on the world economy rises with respondents’ level of education.

In all 19 countries, a majority says they are concerned that “competition for energy will lead to greater conflict and war between nations.” On average 73 percent say they are concerned, including 36 percent who are very concerned. Here too, concern rises with education. In only five countries does concern fall below seven in ten: Poland (52%), Russia (56%), India (59%), Mexico (60%) and Israel (62%). Filipinos (88%, 50% very), and South Koreans (90%, 34% very) are again among the most concerned followed by the British (83%, 46% very).

In countries around the world, there is strong support, rising with education and income, for governments to play a more active role in addressing the problem of energy. Some approaches, however, are considerably more popular than others. There is overwhelming support for “creating tax incentives to encourage the development and use of alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind.” On average 80 percent favor this approach, 50 percent strongly. The Italians (95% favor, 75% strongly) are especially enthusiastic, followed by the Australians (93% favor, 74% strongly), Canadians (91% favor, 66% strongly), and the French (91% favor, 63% strongly). Chileans (62% favor, 31% strongly) are mildly supportive as are Egyptians (66% favor, 32% strongly).

The poll of 19,579 citizens across 19 countries was conducted for the 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 May and July 2006.

June 2006: More Muslims reject terror, but still distrust U.S. (

New polls of Muslims from around the world find large and increasing percentages reject suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians and say they have no confidence in Osama bin Laden. Nonetheless, in most Muslim countries antipathy toward the United States and the West in general has remained negative or even intensified....

Strong opposition to terrorism was found among Muslims in seven out of ten countries polled by Pew. This is especially true in the Muslim populations of Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey, where six in ten or more say that “suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilian targets” are “never justified.” The TFT poll of Indonesia and Pakistan found even bigger numbers rejecting all attacks on civilians. Pew also found complete rejection of terrorism among very large majorities of Muslims living in Germany, Britain, Spain and France. Trend line data available for some countries also show a significant increase in those taking this position in Indonesia and a remarkable 23 point increase in Pakistan. Only Turkey showed a slight downward movement.

In two countries complete opposition to terrorism was just under half—Jordan and Egypt. However in Jordan—the country for which trend line data is available—there was a very large increase of 32 points among those saying terrorism is never justifiable. Only in Nigeria did less than a third fully reject terrorism, though an additional quarter said that it could rarely be justified.

On bin Laden, Pew found that majorities in eight of the ten countries said they had little or no confidence in the al Qaeda leader. In Jordan, the proportion of respondents saying they lack confidence in bin Laden has nearly doubled over the past year. The two exceptions are Nigeria and Pakistan, where only about a third say they lack confidence. In Europe, most Muslims say they have no confidence at all in bin Laden: eight out of ten in Germany and France; six out of ten in Great Britain and Spain.

But Muslims’ rejection of terrorist tactics and their repudiation of bin Laden has not resulted in greater acceptance of the United States or its war on terror. Nor do Muslims express less hostility toward the West in general. Instead majorities in all of the Muslim countries hold unfavorable opinions about the United States and feel strong opposition to the U.S.-led war on terror. The surveys also document deeply divergent attitudes on such issues as last year’s publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

June 2006: America's image slips, but allies share U.S. concerns (Pew Global Attitudes Survey)

America's global image has again slipped and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies like Japan. The war in Iraq is a continuing drag on opinions of the United States, not only in predominantly Muslim countries but in Europe and Asia as well. And despite growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. presence in Iraq is cited at least as often as Iran - and in many countries much more often - as a danger to world peace.

A year ago, anti-Americanism had shown some signs of abating, in part because of the positive feelings generated by U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia and elsewhere. But favorable opinions of the United States have fallen in most of the 15 countries surveyed. Only about a quarter of the Spanish public (23%) expresses positive views of the U.S., down from 41% last year; America's image also has declined significantly in India (from 71% to 56%) and Indonesia (from 38% to 30%).

Yet the survey shows that Americans and the publics of major U.S. allies share common concerns, not only over the possible nuclear threat posed by Iran but also over the recent victory by the Hamas Party in Palestinian elections. In contrast, the predominantly Muslim populations surveyed generally are less worried about both of these developments.

Nearly half of Americans (46%) view the current government in Iran as a "great danger" to stability in the Middle East and to world peace, up from 26% in 2003. Concern over Iran also has risen sharply in Western Europe, especially Germany. Currently 51% of Germans see Iran as a great danger to world peace, compared with just 18% three years ago.

The latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted among nearly 17,000 people in the United States and 14 other nations from March 31-May 14, finds that the U.S.-led war on terror draws majority support in just two countries - India and Russia. In India, support for the U.S.-led war on terror has increased significantly over the past year - from 52% to 65% - even though opinions of the U.S. have grown more negative over that period. But in most other countries, support for the war on terror is either flat or has declined.

April 2006: Worldwide Consensus Emerges on Climate Change (

A poll of 30 countries from around the world finds that a large majority of people in all countries polled believe that climate change or global warming is a serious problem. No country has more than one in five saying it is not a serious problem.

The poll of 33,237 people from all major regions of the world was conducted by GlobeScan Incorporated between October 2005 and January 2006, and analyzed in conjunction with The margin of error for each country was plus or minus 3 percent.

Across all countries, on average 90 percent say that "climate change or global warming, due to the greenhouse effect" is a serious problem. Only three countries have less than eight in ten endorsing this view (the US 76%, South Africa 72%, and Kenya 65%).

In no country do more than one in five say that climate change is not a serious problem. On average only 8 percent say it is not serious. The highest percentage was found in the US (21%), followed by Kenya (19%), China (17%), and Nigeria (16%).

Perhaps most significant, in 23 countries a majority says that global warming is a “very serious” problem. On average, 65 percent say that it is a very serious problem. The only countries where this is not a majority position are six developing countries (China 39%, Indonesia 44%, Kenya 44%, South Africa 44%, Philippines 46%, Nigeria 47%,) and the US (49%).

January 2006: Iran edges U.S. as most negatively viewed country (

A major BBC World Service poll exploring how people in 33 countries view various countries found not a single country where a majority has a positive view of Iran’s role in the world (with the exception of Iranians themselves).

Views of Iran are lower than the US, although the US continues to get low marks, as does Russia. Views of China, France, and Russia are down sharply compared to a similar BBC World Service poll conducted at the end of 2004.

In 24 of the 33 countries polled, majorities (in 14 countries) or pluralities (in 10) say that Iran is having a negative influence in the world. In five other countries a plurality says that Iran is having a positive influence, but in three of these the proportion who say this is less than a third. On average across the 33 countries just 18 percent say Iran is having a positive influence while 47 percent say Iran is having a negative influence.

With Iran included in this year’s poll, it has displaced the US as the nation with the most countries giving it a negative rating. The poll shows that the US has lost ground in some key allied countries. Among the 20 nations polled in 2004 as well as this year, on average positive ratings have dropped five points; ratings have significantly declined in 10 of these tracking countries (including the US) while significantly improving in only five.

The poll of 39,435 people was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The 33-nation fieldwork was coordinated by GlobeScan and completed between October 2005 and January 2006.

April-May 2005: U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative (Pew Global Attitudes Survey)

Anti-Americanism in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which surged as a result of the U.S. war in Iraq, shows modest signs of abating. But the United States remains broadly disliked in most countries surveyed, and the opinion of the American people is not as positive as it once was. The magnitude of America's image problem is such that even popular U.S. policies have done little to repair it. President George W. Bush's calls for greater democracy in the Middle East and U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Asia have been well-received in many countries, but only in Indonesia, India and Russia has there been significant improvement in overall opinions of the U.S.

Attitudes toward the U.S. remain quite negative in the Muslim world, though hostility toward America has eased in some countries. Many Muslims see the U.S. supporting democracy in their countries, and many of those who are optimists about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East give at least some credit to U.S. policies. But progress for America's image in these countries is measured in small steps; solid majorities in all five predominantly Muslim countries surveyed still express unfavorable views of the United States.

The polling in Western Europe, conducted in the weeks leading up to the decisive rejection of the European Union constitution by voters in France and the Netherlands, finds pockets of deep public dissatisfaction with national conditions and concern in several countries over immigration from the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.

There are no signs, however, that Euro-skepticism about the EU has fueled a desire for a closer trans-Atlantic partnership. On the contrary, most Europeans surveyed want to take a more independent approach from the U.S. on security and diplomatic affairs.

Indeed, opinion of the U.S. continues to be mostly unfavorable among the publics of America's traditional allies, except Great Britain and Canada. Even in those two countries, however, favorable views of the U.S. have slipped over the past two years. Moreover, support for the U.S.-led war on terror has plummeted in Spain and eroded elsewhere in Europe.

Japan, France and Germany are all more highly regarded than the United States among the countries of Europe; even the British and Canadians have a more favorable view of these three nations than they do of America. Strikingly, China now has a better image than the U.S. in most of the European nations surveyed.

June 2004: Further deterioration in U.S.-European relations (Transatlantic Trends)

A survey of Americans and Europeans conducted in June 2004 shows that a deterioration in U.S.-European relations first demonstrated in the aftermath of the Iraq war has hardened over the last year, confirming a fundamental change in transatlantic relations may be underway. Europeans are increasingly seeking a more independent role from the U.S. in the world, while Americans increasingly look toward Europe as the preferred partner for resolving global issues.

The survey demonstrated that while Europeans and Americans still share many common values, Europeans remain very skeptical of a strong U.S. leadership role in the world. The survey reported that 58% of Europeans desire a more independent approach for Europe on international security and diplomatic affairs. The 2004 survey also showed that 76% of Europeans express disapproval at current U.S. foreign policy, an increase of 20 percentage points over the past two years.

The survey also showed Americans and Europeans agree on the big threats facing their societies, such as terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but they sharply differ on how to respond to such threats. Americans are more willing to use military force to respond to security threats and to act without an international mandate. Europeans require an international mandate for military action and are more willing to undertake humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.

American public opinion is split on the Bush administration’s foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the role of the United Nations, and justification for using military force. Democrats are more closely aligned with majority European views than are Republicans. Republicans are more likely than Europeans or Democrats to use force, with or without a U.N. mandate. Independents resemble Democrats in their support of EU leadership in world affairs; desire to see a closer U.S.-EU partnership, and warmth toward the EU. They are similar to Republicans in their support of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and willingness to bypass the UN on vital interests. Independents are divided on Bush’s foreign policy and the role of military power.

March 2004: A Year After the Iraq War (Pew Research Center)

A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished. Opinion of the United States in France and Germany is at least as negative now as at the war’s conclusion, and British views are decidedly more critical. Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States. Across Europe, there is considerable support for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States.

In the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, anger toward the United States remains pervasive, although the level of hatred has eased somewhat and support for the war on terrorism has inched up. Osama bin Laden, however, is viewed favorably by large percentages in Pakistan (65%), Jordan (55%) and Morocco (45%). Even in Turkey, where bin Laden is highly unpopular, as many as 31% say that suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. Majorities in all four Muslim nations surveyed doubt the sincerity of the war on terrorism. Instead, most say it is an effort to control Mideast oil and to dominate the world.

June 2003: War With Iraq Further Divides Global Publics (Pew Research Center)

Surveys undertaken in 20 countries and Palestine, during April and May 2003 show the war in Iraq and belief that the Iraqi people are better off as a result have modestly improved the image of America. But in most countries, opinions of the U.S. are markedly lower than they were a year ago.

The results show as well that the war has widened the rift between Americans and Western Europeans, further inflamed the Muslim world, softened support for the war on terrorism, and significantly weakened global public support for the pillars of the post-World War II era – the U.N. and the North Atlantic alliance.

March 2003: America's image further erodes, Europeans want weaker ties (Pew Research Center)

Conducted in March 2003, on the eve of the war in Iraq, the survey results from nine nations show anti-war sentiment and disapproval of President Bush's international policies continue to erode America's image among the publics of its allies. U.S. favorability ratings have plummeted in the past six months in countries actively opposing war ­ France, Germany and Russia ­ as well as in countries that are part of the "coalition of the willing."

The results also indicate most publics surveyed think that in the long run the Iraqi people will be better off and the Middle East will be more stable if Iraq is disarmed and Hussein is removed from power.

December 2002: discontent with the U.S. growing (Pew Research Center)

Released in December 2002, this survey of 38,000 respondents in 44 countries presents one of the most comprehensive reviews of public opinion worldwide. The results also fueled a spirited debate on U.S. public diplomacy that continues well into 2003.

The report's introduction notes, 'Despite an initial outpouring of public sympathy for America following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, discontent with the United States has grown around the world over the past two years. Images of the U.S. have been tarnished in all types of nations: among longtime NATO allies, in developing countries, in Eastern Europe and, most dramatically, in Muslim societies.'

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Updated: 9 February 2008.
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