World Opinion Grows More
Negative After Bush

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For more recent survey results of overseas attitudes towards the U.S. see Public Diplomacy by the Numbers and What the World Thinks of America

Surveys in 21 countries,
conducted November 2004 to January 2005

Majorities in 16 of 21 countries see Bush re-election as negative for world security; animosity grows towards American people as well as government

In public opinion polls conducted in 21 countries following the re-election of George W. Bush, majorities in 16 of the 21 countries view Bush's re-election as negaive for world peace and security. Only in two countries (India and the Philippines) do majorities consider Bush's re-election in positive terms. In two other countries, a plurality (but not majority) view the re-election negatively, and in one (Poland) a plurality but not majority consider the re-election a positive step. The most negative overall opinions were recorded in Western Europe, Latin America, and Islamic countries. Nearly half of those surveyed now view the U.S. influence in the world as mostly negative. Although still a minority, growing numbers now consider the American people in negative terms and none of the publics surveyed, even those with favorable opinions of Bush's re-election, support sending their own troops to Iraq.

In a poll of 21,953 people in 21 countries, conducted between November 2004 and January 2005, a solid majority (58%) view President Bush's re-election as negative for world peace and security. Only about a quarter of those polled (26%) call the re-election a positive step.

The results indicate some traditional US allies are most negative about Bush's reelection including all western European countries polled—Germany (77% negative), France (75%), Britain (64%), though Italy is by comparison moderate at 54 percent negative. Those with strongly negative opinions also include Canada (67%) and Australia (61%). Japan, however, is noncommittal, with a plurality negative (39%), compared to 15 percent positive, but about a third (31%) saying it makes no difference 31%.

The surveys recorded majorities of negative opinion in Islamic countries and Latin America as well. In Turkey, although nominally a US ally, an overwhelming 82 percent are negative about Bush’s reelection—the highest of all countries polled. Also negative are Indonesia (68%), and Lebanon (64%). In Central and South America, which has not been a high-profile focus of U.S. policy, Argentines are 79 percent negative, as are 78 percent of Brazilians, 62 percent of Chileans and 58 percent of Mexicans. Others with majorities considering the re-elction a negative for world security include Chine (56%), South Korea (54%), and South Africa. In Russia, as in Japan, a plurality but not majority consider the re-election in negative terms, 39 to 16 percent.

Only in two countries do majorities feel good about President Bush's re-election. Strong majorities of Filipinos and Indians - 63 and 62 percent respectively - consider the re-election a positive step for world security. In Poland, a plurality but not majority (44%) view the re-election in positive terms.

The survey results suggest that Bush's re-election is causing publics overseas to reconsider their feelings towards Americans as a people. Asked how Bush’s election has affected their feelings toward the American people, on average, 42 percent said it made them feel worse toward the American people, while 25 percent said it made them feel better and 23 percent said it had no effect. Countries varied widely. In seven countries clear majorities said that it made them feel worse - especially Turkey (72%), France (65%), Brazil (59%) and Germany (56%). In only two did a majority say it has made them feel better (the Philippines 78% and India 65%). In three countries most said that it has had no effect on their feelings toward the American people - Russia (66%), Japan (62%), and Poland (55%).

While President Bush's second inaugural speech focused on the need for U.S. leadership to end tyranny in the world, the survey results suggest a large segment of the world's public does not consider the U.S. ready to take on that role. On average almost half (47%) say they now view US influence in the world as mostly negative while a somewhat smaller number (38%) view it as mostly positive and 15 percent did not answer either way. In 12 countries a majority see US influence as mostly negative, with large majorities in Argentina (65%), Germany (64%), Russia (63%), Turkey (62%), Canada (60%), and Mexico (57%).

None of the countries surveyed record anywhere near majority (or even plurality) support for sending troops to Iraq to help the U.S. On average some seven in 10 are opposed to sending their troops to Iraq. Majority opposition to sending troops to Iraq even surfaced in the Philippines (58%) and Poland (60%) which felt positive about Bush's re-election.

The research included a comparison sample of 1,000 Americans. The survey found a majority (56%) of Americans expressing the view that Bush's reelection is positive for world security, with four in 10 (39%) calling it negative. Some seven in 10 (71%) say that the US is having a mostly positive influence in the world, with a quarter of Americans (25%) saying it is mostly negative.

Survey details:
The poll of 21,953 people was conducted by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The survey team reports that polling was conducted from 15 November 2004 to 3 January 2005, which included a a sample of 1,000 Americans. In eight of the countries the sample was limited to major metropolitan areas. The margin of error per country ranged from +/-2.5-4%.

More details about the survey, including its methods, may be found on the PIPA Web site.

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Created: 23 January 2005.
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