April 1, 2008
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 percent a year ago to 35 percent today while the view that it is having a negative influence has declined from 52 percent to 47 percent.
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. Pakistan follows Israel as the third most poorly rated country.
Similar to last year, Japan is among the most positively rated countries. It comes a close second to Germany; the European Union comes third.
The country with the greatest improvement is Russia. Positive views of Russia have risen on average from 29 percent to 37 percent and negative views have fallen from 40 per cent to 33 percent. In 12 countries, the view of Russia grew more positive.
These 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.”