Global Views of United States Improve While Other Countries Decline
April 18, 2010
Global views of the United States have improved markedly over the last year while views of many countries have become more negative, according to the latest BBC World Service poll across 28 countries. For the first time since the BBC started tracking in 2005, views of the United States’ influence in the world are now more positive than negative on average.
The survey, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among more than 29,000 adults, asked respondents to say whether they considered the influence of different countries in the world to be mostly positive or mostly negative. It found that the United States is viewed positively on balance in 20 of 28 countries, with an average of 46 per cent now saying it has a mostly positive influence in the world, while 34 per cent say it has a negative influence.
Compared to a year earlier, negative ratings of the United States have dropped a striking nine points on average across the countries surveyed both years, while positive ratings are up a more modest four points. Ratings of the influence of many other countries, meanwhile, have declined over the past year. On average, positive ratings of the United Kingdom and Japan are down three points, Canada down six points, and the European Union down four points. Ratings of the United Kingdom’s influence in the world declined significantly in 11 countries and rose in only three. (See note in full report for details of how these tracking averages have been calculated)
Germany is the most favourably viewed nation (an average of 59% positive), followed by Japan (53%), the United Kingdom (52%), Canada (51%), and France (49%). The European Union is viewed positively by 53 per cent. In contrast, Iran is the least favourably viewed nation (15%), followed by Pakistan (16%), North Korea (17%), Israel (19%), and Russia (30%).
While it is not among the most favourably viewed nations, the improvement in the ratings of the United States means it has now overtaken China in terms of positive perceptions. Fifteen countries view China favourably on balance, with an average of 41 per cent feeling it has a mostly positive influence in the world and 38 per cent feeling its influence is mostly negative.
Iran attracts mostly negative views in all countries polled except Mexico and Pakistan–on average, 56 per cent rate it negatively. Views of Iran in China and Russia have deteriorated–positive views have dropped 11 points among the Chinese people (30%) while negative views of Iran have jumped up 13 points among Russians (to 45%).
The BBC World Service Poll has been tracking opinions about country influence in the world since 2005. The latest results are based on 29,977 in-home or telephone interviews conducted across a total of 28 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 30 November 2009 and 16 February 2010.
GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller comments: “People around the world today view the United States more positively than at any time since the second Iraq war. While still well below that of countries like Germany and the UK, the global standing of the US is clearly on the rise again.”
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “While China’s image is stuck in neutral, America has motored past it in the global soft-power competition.
“After a year, it appears the ‘Obama effect’ is real. Its influence on people’s views worldwide, though, is to soften the negative aspects of the United States’ image, while positive aspects are not yet coming into strong focus.”
While positive views of the United States increased in most countries polled, the most significant increases were in Germany (up from 18% in 2009 to 39% this year), in Russia (up from 7% to 25%), in Portugal (up from 43% to 57%) and in Chile (up from 42% to 55%) with negative perceptions also falling significantly.
The only countries where perceptions of the United States became more negative overall were Turkey (where the proportion with positive perceptions of the United States fell from 21 per cent to 13 per cent and negative perceptions increased from 63 to 70 per cent), and in India (where positive perceptions dipped from 43 per cent to 39 per cent and negative views increased from 20 to 28 per cent).
The only two countries to have majorities with negative views of the United States are Turkey (70%) and Pakistan (52%). Russia is also quite negative (50%).
Last year’s poll found that views of both Russia and China had deteriorated. Looking at the views of the countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, they appear to have stabilized somewhat this year. Views of Russia in particular are more muted, with a decline both in the proportion of those rating it positively (from 31 to 29%) and those rating it negatively (42 to 37%). China’s positive ratings remain at 40 per cent, while its negative ratings have fallen a little, to 38 per cent.
European countries continue to have quite negative views of China, including Italy (72% negative), Germany (71%), France (64%), Spain and Portugal (both 54%) as do South Koreans (61%) and Americans (51%). In Africa, views are quite positive with majorities viewing it positively in Kenya and Nigeria (both 73%) and in Ghana (63%).
Views of the European Union remain mostly positive in almost all countries polled (53% overall). But there is a difference of views toward the European Union among the European nations surveyed, with Germany (76%) and France (74%) the most positive about its influence, Italy (64%) and Spain (62%) a little less favourable and the United Kingdom (54%) much less upbeat about it. Turkey–which is also highly negative about most other countries–also rates the European Union unfavourably (with only 29% positive).
In total 29,977 citizens in 28 countries, were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between 30 November 2009 and 16 February 2010. Nations were rated by half samples in all countries polled. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In ten of the 28 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.1 to 6.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The United States
Views of the USA are now positive in most countries around the world for the first time since tracking began. Nineteen countries give US influence positive ratings, while six lean negative and two are divided. In the 27 country average, 46 per cent view US influence positively and 34 per cent view it negatively. This represents a substantial improvement over 2009. Among countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, positive views have increased four points and negative views have decreased nine points. In 2009, 12 countries had negative views, with six expressing positive views and two divided.
Movements have been especially marked in Europe. While a majority of Spaniards (56%) had a negative view, this has dropped 23 points so that views now lean positive (40% positive, 33% negative). Similarly while France had a majority negative view last year (53%) this has dropped 14 points; now the French lean positive (45% to 39%). The United Kingdom has gone from leaning negative (41% positive, 45% negative) to leaning positive (48% to 35%).
Other allies have shifted as well. In Canada, formerly a negative majority, views now lean favorable as positive attitudes have risen by six points (now 44%, up from 38%) and negative attitudes have fallen by 17 points (now 38%, down from 55%). Japan, which was divided in 2009, now leans positive as favorable views have grown by six points (now 34%, up from 28%) and unfavorable views have declined by 11 points (now 18%, down from 29%).
In Chile, which was divided in 2009, a majority (55%) now holds positive views on US influence, up 13 points. Egypt, which leaned negative last year (40% to 48%), now leans positive (45% to 29%). Only two countries have a majority with a negative view. Turkey has 70 per cent with an unfavorable view–up seven points from last year. Pakistan has 52 per cent with a negative perspective and just 9 per cent with a positive one. Four countries continue to have a negative view: Russia (50%), Mexico (49%), Germany (47%), and China (44%). However, negative views have dropped in Russia (15 points), Germany (18 points), China (14 points), and Mexico (5 points). Besides Turkey, views also worsened in India. India still leans positive (39% to 28%), however negative views have increased by eight points and positive views have dropped by four. African countries and the Philippines, which have generally been very positive toward US influence, remain stable in these views. Large majorities are still favorable in Kenya (85%), the Philippines (82%), Ghana (72%), and Nigeria (64%).
Attitudes toward China remain divided on the whole. Publics in 12 countries are most commonly favorable on Chinese influence, while 12 are negative and three are divided. On average among 27 countries, 41 per cent hold positive views and 38 per cent hold negative views. Among countries surveyed both in 2009 and 2010, the average remained roughly the same.
While in 2009 views of China had declined considerably from the previous year, this year, overall, views are largely stable. The number of countries having mostly positive or mostly negative views of China’s influence was also about equal (ten positive, nine negative, and one divided). For the long-term tracking countries, on average, there was no change in positive views over the last year, while negative views inched down two points.
However underlying this aggregate stability, there have been significant shifts in views of China within different countries.
Filipinos have made a sharp reversal in views of China. While in 2009 a majority (52%) took a negative view this has dropped 21 points. Now a majority (55%) has a positive view (up 16 points). While in 2009 Japan had a clear majority with a negative view (59%), this has dropped a remarkable 21 points, so that now just 38 per cent have a negative view. Positive views climbed from 8 to 18 per cent.
Europe continues to be the region that is the most negative toward China but negative views have softened in Portugal (now 54%, down from 62%), and France (64%, down from 70%). In addition, positive views have increased among Germans (now 20%, up from 11%), although a large majority (71%) remains negative. But in Italy and Spain already low positive views have decreased by seven points so that just 14 per cent in Italy and 22 per cent in Spain view China’s influence as favorable.
Negative views continue to predominate, but have nonetheless softened in Canada (now 41%, down from 58%), Turkey (now 47%, down from 64%). The minority holding negative views in Indonesia has declined to 29 from 37 per cent (43% positive). While Australians leaned positive in 2009 (47% to 37%) they now lean negative (36% positive, 43% negative). Similarly Indians went from leaning positive (30% to 24%) with many not answering, to leaning negative (30% to 38%) with more people answering. South Koreans are among the most negative toward China (61%) negative. This is up 11 points from when they were last polled in 2008. In Ghana and Central America views are still mostly positive, but less so. In Ghana, positive views have dropped 12 points (now 63%, down from 75%). In Central America positive views slipped from 62 to 57 per cent, with negative views climbing ten points. The USA remains barely negative in its views toward China, with a slight unfavorable majority (51%), which is roughly unchanged from 2009 (52%).
Japan continues to have very positive ratings globally. Twenty-five of the countries give Japan’s influence a positive rating, while only one country, China, leans negative and one is divided. On average, 53 per cent view Japanese influence positively and 21 per cent negatively.
Looking at the average of the 22 tracking countries, positive views are down three points but negative views remain virtually unchanged. Last year, out of 20 countries 16 gave Japan a positive rating, two were negative, and two were divided.
China is the only country with a balance of negative views about Japan and these views have even worsened. Positive views there have fallen 11 points (29%, down from 40%), while almost half the public remain negative (now 47%, down from 50%).
However under this generally stable and positive view there have been substantial changes. Four countries have shown marked improvements in their views of Japan. In Germany, views have moved from divided to positive, with a 12-point increase in positive views (now 50%, up from 38%) and no significant change in negative views. In Turkey, views have changed from negative to divided, with a 12-point decline in negative views (35% down from 47%). And in South Korea–which was last polled in 2008–views have warmed, shifting from negative to positive with a 27-point rise in positive views (now 64%, up from 37% in 2008) and a 23-point fall in negative views (now 29%, down from 52%). Russia’s positive views have risen from 49 to 58 per cent.
Positive views are virtually unchanged while negative views have fallen eight points in the USA (now 11%, down from 19%); seven points in the Philippines (10%, down from 17%).
Favorable views have cooled but still lean positive in Spain where positive views have fallen 19 points (now 42%, down from 61%) and negative views have risen ten points (now 29%, up from 19%). In both Italy and India, positive views are down 11 points and negative views up eight and nine points, respectively. Positive views are down nine points in Central America (now 54%, down from 63%) and negative views up eight points (now 27%, up from 19%).
In two other countries, positive views have fallen but negative views are virtually unchanged. Positive views have dropped 14 points in Ghana (now 53%, down from 67%), and 11 points in Canada (now 59%, down from 70%).
Attitudes toward North Korea remain widely negative. Publics in 23 countries are negative about North Korea’s influence, while in two countries views are positive and in three they are divided. On average among 28 countries, 48 per cent see North Korea’s influence as mainly negative while 17 per cent think it mainly positive.
In the previous year, 14 countries had negative views, just one had a positive view and six were divided. Positive views have dropped three points on average since last year; negative views are virtually stable.
Of greatest note is that views in China–a major patron of North Korea–have moved in a sharply negative direction. While last year Chinese views were divided, positive views have plunged 18 points (from 42 to 24%), so that the Chinese clearly lean to the negative (positive 24%, negative 40%). Chinese approval of North Korea is now the lowest recorded over the last four years.
Another country important to North Korea–Russia–has also shifted in a negative direction. Similar to China, while in 2009 views were divided, negative views have risen 15 points (35%, up from 20%). Now Russians lean to a negative view (19% positive, 35% negative).
Two other countries have also cooled toward North Korea. In Egypt, negative views have risen eight points (now 36%, up from 28%). In Ghana, positive views have fallen 18 points (now 25%, down from 43%) and negative views have risen eight points (32%, up from 24%), moving a public once favorably disposed into leaning negative.
Publics in two countries have shifted in a positive direction toward North Korea. In Indonesia the public has gone from negative to divided, with negative views falling eight points (from 36% to 28%). And in Nigeria attitudes have gone from divided to positive, with negative views dropping six points (29%, down from 35%).
Of the 23 countries with a preponderance of negative views, the ones with the largest majorities are South Korea and Japan (both 90%), followed by Germany (86%), France (73%), the USA (70%), and Australia (65%). Just two countries are on balance positive toward North Korea: Azerbaijan (25% positive, 19% negative) and Nigeria (35% positive, 29% negative). Three publics are divided: Indonesia, Chile and Central America.
Views of the United Kingdom are positive in most countries around the world, a view that has dimmed only slightly since last year. Of 27 countries polled, 24 give the United Kingdom’s influence positive ratings, while three lean negative. On average, 52 per cent view the UK positively and 20 per cent view it negatively.
Among countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, positive views have decreased three points and negative views remain unchanged.
The most dramatic changes have occurred in China and Russia, though in opposite directions. In China positive views have plunged a striking 16 points, though a bare majority (51%) continues to have a positive view of the United Kingdom (negative 21%). In Russia positive views have climbed 12 points–also to a 51 per cent positive (negative 14%).
Views have gone from warm to warmer in two countries. Among Nigerians, positive views have risen nine points (72%, up from 63%). Among the French, positive views have risen eight points (67%, up from 59%). Views lean positive and remain virtually unchanged in six countries: Ghana, Italy, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, and India.
Views have gone from warm to less warm in numerous countries. Among Canadians, positive views have dropped 12 points (now 62%, down from 74%). In Spain, positive views have fallen ten points (now 53%, down from 63%). In Portugal, positive views have fallen seven points (now 50%, down from 57%). In Egypt, positive views fell eight points (now 50%, down from 58%). Among Kenyans, positive views have fallen eight points (now 79%, down from 87%). In the Philippines, positive views have fallen nine points (now 58%, down from 67%). Among Australians, positive views fell seven points (now 62%, down from 69%). In all these countries, though, negative views have not increased; more now say “it depends” or decline to answer.
Though negative views have increased in Germany and Central America, attitudes still lean positive. In Germany, negative views have risen nine points (now 27%, up from 18%) but a majority (53%) is still positive (down from 59%). Though views lean positive in Central America, negative views rose nine points (now 30%, up from 21%).
Three countries had negative views of the United Kingdom. A majority of Turks remain negative, though this majority has declined (now 53%, down from 59%), with positive views also lower (18%, down from 24%) and more taking no position. Views in Mexico were virtually unchanged but still lean negative. Pakistan also leans negative on the United Kingdom’s influence (38% negative, 9% positive) with many taking no position.
Views of Pakistan remain quite negative and, overall, largely unchanged from last year. Twenty-three countries give Pakistan’s influence a negative rating, two countries lean positive and two are divided. In 2009, only one of 23 countries leaned positive and two countries were divided. In the 27-country average, 51 per cent view Pakistani influence negatively and 16 per cent view it positively.
Among countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, positive views are down two points and negative views are down four points.
Views have worsened in India and Russia. In India, negative views have risen 14 points (from 49% to 63%). Among Russians, negative views are up nine points (from 37% to 46%).
In two countries, views have improved significantly. Kenyans moved from an unfavorable view to being divided, with a nine-point increase in positive views (now 39%, up from 30%), and an 11-point decrease in negative views (now 37%, down from 48%). Indonesians have shifted from being divided to leaning favorable, as positive views have risen six points (now 36%, up from 30%) and negative views have dropped slightly (now 26%, down from 29%).
Negative views are significantly lower in seven countries, though positive views have not gone up. These include Australians, (54%, down from 63%), Canadians, (49%, down from 63%), Americans (58%, down from 69%), Britons, (44%, down from 54%), Portuguese, (57%, down from 72%), Spain, (70%, down from 78%), and Filipinos (61%, down from 71%). In all these countries, neutral views and non-responses are up compared to last year.
A slight increase in negative views has moved Nigeria from divided in 2009 (32% positive, 35% negative) to leaning negative (32% positive, 40% negative) in 2010.
Among Egyptians, positive views have fallen 11 points (now 14%, down from 25%), but negative views dropped as well (now 36%, down from 41%). Those saying “It depends” have risen 16 points (now 30%, up from 14%).
Worldwide, views of India lean only modestly to the positive, barely edging out views of China. Among 27 countries polled, 15 are positive about India’s influence in world affairs, ten are negative and two are divided. On average, among 27 countries, 36 per cent are positive and 31 per cent negative about India’s influence. A high 33 per cent do not provide an answer or are neutral.
Among the tracking countries negative views have dropped by four points, but positive views have also dropped by two points, suggesting little net gain.
While views of India were fairly negative in Europe in 2009 there has been something of a warming trend. Among the French, positive views have grown by nine points (now 38%, up from 29%). Germans’ favorable perceptions have increased by ten points (now 32%, up from 22%). Among Portuguese, negative attitudes have fallen by 11 points (now 35%, down from 46%). But in all three cases, views are still predominantly negative. Italians’ unfavorable views have fallen by nine points (now 34%, down from 43%), shifting them from a divided view in 2009 to leaning positive in 2010.
There has been a distinct cooling with its counterpart, China. While in 2009 views were divided there, Chinese favorable views have fallen by 15 points, so that negative views (47%) now strongly outweigh positive ones (29%). China together with Pakistan (48% have negative views) have the most negative views of India, followed by Germany (46%).
However positive views are up in its other large neighbour, Indonesia (now 50%, from 38%). Filipinos have also warmed a bit with negative feelings decreasing by eight points (45%, down from 53%), but they still largely outweigh positive feelings (28%).
In the USA negative views are down by eight points (now 18%, from 26%) and a robust 55% say they have positive views of India. South Korea is the only country with a larger percentage (56%) saying that they see India having a positive influence.
Ghanaians views have had a sharp downturn with positive views decreasing by 24 points (now 33%, from 57%). Australians have also cooled with positive views dropping from 53 to 44 per cent. But in both cases positive views continue to prevail.
In Central America, unfavorable perceptions have increased by nine points (42%, up from 33%) and is the dominant position.
Views of France are positive in nearly all countries around the world, an attitude that has not changed significantly from last year. Of 27 countries polled, 25 gave French influence positive ratings, one (Turkey) had a majority with negative views and one leaned negative. In the 27-country average, 49 per cent view French influence positively and 19 per cent view it negatively.
Among countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, on average positive views have decreased four points; negative views have decreased two points.
Notable increases in positive views are found in Germany (now 66%, up from 55%), Russia (now 63%, up from 56%), and Indonesia (now 49%, up from 42%). Brazil, which was last polled in 2008, is now 24 points more favorable (now 69%, up from 45%).
Notable decreases in positive views of French influence are found among Canadians–positive views have fallen 16 points (now 51%, down from 67%), Spaniards (now 61%, down from 74%), Portuguese (now 62%, down from 69%), Ghanaians (now 46%, down from 57%), and Australians (now 47%, down from 56%). After years of steady increases Americans positive ratings of France have slipped ten points (now 42% down from 52%); just 28 per cent have a negative view, but this is the fourth highest of all countries polled.
The one country with a majority negative view–Turkey–has shown a decrease from 58 to 53 per cent in those saying France is having a negative influence. The only other country to lean negative was Pakistan, but only 23 per cent held this position with 12 per cent giving a positive rating and a remarkable two thirds not providing an answer.
Curiously, there was a substantial increase in the number of people not providing a response or giving a neutral response, thus lowering both positive and negative responses in four countries. Among Britons, both positive views (48%, down from 55%) and negative views (18%, down from 25%) have dropped seven points. Among Egyptians, positive views are down nine points (42%, down from 51%) and negative views down five points (13%, down from 18%). In China, positive views fell six points (38%, down from 44%) and negative views fell 21 points (24% down from 45%). In the Philippines, positive views have fallen nine points (45%, down from 54%) and negative views have dropped seven points (22%, down from 29%).
Views of South Africa have warmed somewhat from last year. Of the 28 countries polled in 2010, 11 countries give South African influence a positive rating, five countries lean negative, and 12 countries are divided. In the 28-country average, 34 per cent view South African influence positively and 27 per cent view it negatively.
Among countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, negative views are down five points on average, though positive views remain unchanged.
South Africa is especially popular among its neighbours with majorities saying that it is having a positive influence in Kenya (79%), Nigeria (59%), and Ghana (51%). Positive views in Ghana, though, are down nine points.
In no country does a majority have a negative view though views lean close to majority negative in the Philippines, Germany and Brazil.
Views have shifted from negative to positive in Canada and the United Kingdom. In Canada, negative views have fallen 14 points (28%, down from 42%). Among Britons negative views have fallen 22 points (25%, down from 47%), while positive views have risen six points (36%, up from 30%).
Ratings have shifted from divided to positive in France and Portugal, as well as Central America. In France, positive views have risen 14 points (52%, up from 38%), and negative views are down ten points (25%, down from 35%). In Portugal, negative views have fallen 15 points (19%, down from 34%) and positive views have improved (37%, up from 32%). Also, in Central America positive views have risen eight points (36%, up from 28%).
In Australia, views of South Africa have shifted from negative to being divided. Negative views have fallen 11 points (now 30%, down from 41%).
Views shifted toward the negative in three countries. In Egypt, ratings shifted from divided to negative as positive views fell 16 points (now 14%, down from 30%). In Russia, ratings shifted from positive to divided; though positive views rose a little, negative views rose ten points (now 23%, up from 13%). In Japan, positive views fell five points and negative views rose five points as well, leaving attitudes divided instead of leaning positive as they did last year.
Views warmed in Chile, where positive views rose nine points (now 45%, up from 36%), while negative views fell eight points (now 17%, down from 25%). Among Americans, negative views have fallen 13 points (now 27%, down from 40%). Among Germans, negative attitudes have softened; positive views have risen 16 points (now 31%, up from 15%) while negative views have fallen eight points (now 45%, down from 53%). In China negative views are down 14 points (now 19%, down from 33%).
Attitudes toward Israel are widely negative. Twenty-four countries give an unfavorable evaluation, while only two evaluate Israel positively, and two are divided. In the 28-country average, 50 per cent rate Israel’s influence negatively and 19 per cent rate it positively.
Even so, the average of countries polled in both 2009 and 2010 became slightly less negative; unfavorable ratings have dropped by four points.
Views improved but remained negative in several countries. Unfavorable ratings have dropped in Australia by 20 points (now 47%, down from 67%), in Canada by 14 points (now 38%, down from 52%), in China by 12 points (now 40%, down from 52%), in Japan by 11 points (now 52%, down from 63%), in Portugal by 22 points (now 46%, down from 68%), in Spain by 11 points (now 60%, down from 71%)
The USA has remained one of the two countries offering a positive rating overall, although this has dropped seven points (now 40%, down from 47%). It is joined by Kenya, where a drop in negative ratings by seven points (now 34%, from 41%) has caused it to lean slightly positive (39% positive). Russia continues to be quite divided (29% positive, 30% negative).
Majority-Muslim countries continue to have negative views about Israel’s influence. All five of these countries surveyed have negative majorities: Egypt (92%), Turkey (77%), Indonesia (56%), Pakistan (53%), and Azerbaijan (51%).
Canada, while being the fourth most positively evaluated nation, has seen its favorable ratings decline overall. Among countries polled in 2009 and 2010, the average positive rating has dropped by six points.
Twenty-four countries say Canada has a positive influence in world affairs and three countries lean toward saying its influence is negative. In the 2010 average of 27 countries, 51 per cent are favorable and 14 per cent are unfavorable.
Favorable positions have weakened in some of Canada’s closest friends including the USA by 15 points (now 67%, down from 82%), and the United Kingdom by 12 points (now 62%, down from 74%).
Drops in positive ratings were elsewhere as well. China had a remarkable 21-point drop in positive views (now 54%, down from 75%). And there were significant drops in Portugal by 12 points (now 59%, down from 71%), Nigeria by 12 points (now 43%, down from 55%), in Spain by ten points (now 54%, down from 64%), in Italy by nine points (now 65%, down from 74%), in Egypt by eight points (now 18%, down from 26%), and in the Philippines by eight points (now 75%, down from 83%).
Despite widespread erosion in positive views, only three countries lean toward a negative rating and none of them by a majority: Turkey (35% negative, 16% positive), Egypt (22% negative, 18% positive), and Pakistan (19% negative, 11% positive).
On the other hand attitudes toward Canada have improved in Germany, Russia, and Turkey. In each of the first two countries, positive ratings have increased substantially: in Germany by nine points (now 73%, up from 64%) and in Russia by eight points (now 44%, up from 36%). In Turkey, negative ratings have dropped by 14 points (now 35%, down from 49%).
The European Union
The European Union continues to receive positive evaluations from nearly every country polled; however, these views have receded in several countries. Among the 22 countries surveyed outside the European Union, 19 offer positive ratings, two offer negative ratings, and one is divided. All the European Union members are quite positive.
On average, in the 22 countries polled outside the European Union, 49 per cent call its influence positive and 19 per cent call it negative. On average among tracking countries, though, there has been a four point drop in positive views.
Outside the Union, favorable ratings have fallen in: Canada, by 16 points (now 57%, down from 73%); the USA, by 12 points (now 50%, down from 62%); India, by 13 points (now 23%, down from 36%); China, by 16 points (now 41%, down from 57%); the Philippines, by 11 points (now 54%, down from 65%); and Australia, by ten points (now 55%, down from 65%).
Views of the European Union have improved in Russia, Egypt, and Indonesia. Among Russians, positive views have increased by 19 points (now 50%, up from 31%), and by seven points among Indonesians (now 44%, from 37%). Egyptians’ negative ratings have dropped by 15 points (now 20%, down from 35%).
Turkey, the only country that leaned negative on the European Union’s influence in 2009, is joined in this view by Pakistan, which was polled for the first time in 2010. Turkey’s views are 29 per cent positive, 45 per cent negative. Pakistan’s views are 10 per cent positive, 30 per cent negative.
Within the Union, views have cooled in several of the six member countries polled. In Spain, positive views have decreased by 14 points (62%, down from 76%). Similarly, favorable ratings also have dropped in Italy (now 64% from 72%). In Germany where views are still very positive, negative views have nonetheless risen by seven points (12%, up from 5%). The United Kingdom bucks the trend, as negative views have fallen by six points (22%, down from 28%).
Though views on Russia’s influence are still predominantly negative worldwide, these have softened in the past year, after having worsened between 2008 and 2009. In the 27-country average for the current survey, 37 per cent hold negative views and 30 per cent hold positive views. Seventeen countries give Russia’s influence a negative rating, seven give it a positive rating, and three are divided.
Most dramatic, the publics in the United Kingdom and Canada have gone from being negative to being divided, as unfavorable views have decreased by 22 points in the United Kingdom (now 33%, down from 55%) and by 20 points in Canada (now 34%, down from 54%).
Negative attitudes have also moderated notably in the USA, Germany, and France, though these countries are still predominantly negative. Among Americans, negative views have dropped by 18 points bringing it below half (now 46%, down from 64%). Among Germans, negative views have fallen by 16 points (now 54%, down from 70%), and among the French by 11 points (now 55%, down from 66%).
Other notable drops are found in Portugal, by 18 points (now 36%, down from 54%); Turkey, by 14 points (now 50%, down from 64%); Japan, by 16 points (now 22%, down from 38%); and Chile, by nine points (now 24%, down from 33%). Except Chile, all of these are also still predominantly negative.
Against the larger trend, several countries have grown more negative about Russia’s influence. Favorable evaluations have decreased in China by 19 points (now 55%, down from 74%). In Africa, Kenya has swung from a positive position to a divided one as favorable ratings have dropped by 18 points (now 37%, down from 55%) and unfavorable ratings have risen by nine points (now 38%, up from 29%). Likewise, favorable ratings have dropped in Ghana by 18 points (now 32%, down from 50%). Also Nigeria has become predominantly unfavorable as positive views have decreased by six points (now 31%, down from 37%) and negative views have increased by six points (now 42%, up from 36%). Unfavorable evaluations in Mexico have increased by eight points (now 29%, from 21%).
Attitudes toward Iran are still the most negative of all countries included in the poll. Twenty-five out of 28 countries surveyed are most commonly negative about Iran’s influence (Pakistan is positive and two are divided). In the 2010 28-country average, 56 per cent have an unfavorable opinion of Iranian influence and 15 per cent have a favorable opinion. Among tracking countries, the percentage saying Iranian influence is positive has slipped four points between 2009 and 2010.
Two countries have shifted from being divided to leaning negative. In Ghana, positive views have decreased by 23 points (now 13%, down from 36%) and negative views have increased by ten points (now 45%, up from 35%). In Nigeria, positive views have declined by eight points (now 28%, down from 36%) and negative views have grown by six points (now 42%, up from 36%). Indians’ views have gone from slightly positive in 2009 (24% positive, 19% negative) to leaning negative in 2010 (19% positive and 33% negative).
Significant to current negotiations over sanctions in the United Nations’ Security Council views of Iran in Russia and China have turned more negative. Among Russians, negative ratings have grown by 13 points (now 45%, up from 32%). Favorable views have slipped in China by 11 points (now 30%, down from 41%).
Favorable attitudes on Iranian influence have also slipped in its regional neighbour Egypt, by nine points (now 27%, down from 36%). Central Americans’ unfavorable views have risen by nine points (now 58%, up from 49%).
In five countries negative views have moderated. Negative evaluations have decreased by 12 points in Canada (now 60%, down from 72%), by ten points in the USA (now 69%, down from 79%), by nine points in the United Kingdom (now 59%, down from 68%), by 12 points in Portugal (now 67%, down from 79%), and by eight points in the Philippines (now 64%, down from 72%).
Brazil maintains its positive standing in the eyes of most publics around the world. Twenty-one countries have favorable views, three have negative views, and three are divided. On average in the 2010 poll of 27 countries, 41 per cent give positive ratings and 23 per cent give negative ratings. Among the 22 tracking countries from 2009, positive ratings dropped by three point (42%, down from 45%) but negative ratings remained steady (23%).
Brazil is quite popular with its neighbours. Majorities have positive views in Chile (77%), Mexico (59%), and Central America (55%). In Chile, favorable opinions have increased by 13 points (up from 64%). But among Mexicans, positive evaluations have fallen by 19 points (59%, down from 78%).
Views have shifted in a positive direction in a number of European countries. In the United Kingdom, negative perceptions have dropped by 15 points (now 20%, down from 35%). Britons now lean positively, after being divided previously. Germans’ attitudes have gone leaning negative to being divided, as positive views have risen by six points (now 36%, up from 30%). Positive attitudes have also increased in France by eight points (now 50%, up from 42%).
Views have shifted in a negative direction in Egypt and India. Egypt has changed from leaning positive to leaning negative, as favorable evaluations have dropped by 15 points (to 18%, down from 33%). Indians have moved from favorable to divided, as negative views have risen by eight points (to 23%, up from 15%).
Positive opinions of Brazil have also declined in each of the following countries: China by ten points (now 55%, down from 65%), Ghana by nine points (now 41%, down from 50%), Italy by nine points (now 40%, down from 49%), Canada by eight points (now 38%, down from 46%) and Nigeria by nine points (now 38%, down from 47%).
Opinion on Germany’s influence remains the most positive of any country evaluated. Twenty-four countries give a positive rating and none have significant negative number–the highest being 33 per cent in Turkey.
On average in the current year, 59 per cent are positive and 14 per cent are negative. The average position remained virtually unchanged from year-to-year among trendline countries.
Positive views have strengthened in several countries, most significantly in Egypt and Chile. Among Egyptians, favorable opinion has grown by 11 points (now 50%, up from 39%) and negative opinion has dropped by 14 points. Chileans’ positive views have risen by 12 points (now 66%, up from 54%). Positive views have increased in Russia by eight points (now 61%, up from 53%). Negative views declined among Mexicans by eight points (17%, down from 25%).
However Indians and Turks are now divided on Germany’s influence, after both leaned positive in 2009. In India, favorable evaluations have decreased by 11 points (22%, down from 33%) and negative evaluations have increased by eight points (19%, up from 11%). In Turkey, positive ratings have dropped by 14 points (30%, down from 44%).
Also unfavorable ratings have increased in Central America by eight points (28%, up from 20%). Pakistan leans slightly negative, as 18 per cent rate Germany’s influence negatively and 13 per cent rate it positively.
Opinion on South Korea, evaluated for the first time in 2010, is divided. Nine countries hold negative views, 12 hold positive views, and six are divided. In the 27-country average, 32 per cent are favorable and 30 per cent are unfavorable. A high average of 39 per cent does not provide an answer one way or the other.
Within the Asian-Pacific region, perceptions of South Korea’s influence are mildly positive. Publics are favorable in China (57%), and the Philippines (50%), and lean that way in Indonesia (43%), Japan (36%), and Australia (35%). India and Pakistan are divided, but most do not provide an answer. Thailand is the main exception, as 58 per cent say South Korea has a negative influence.
European countries are predominantly negative about South Korea’s influence in the world. Unfavorable views are found in a majority in Germany (53%), and substantial pluralities in Italy (46%), Spain (46%), and France (45%). With most not taking a position, views are divided in the United Kingdom and Portugal, but lean very slightly positive in Russia.
Most countries in the Americas lean favorably including the USA (46%), Chile (45%), Mexico (40%), Central America (39%), and Canada (37%). The exception is Brazil which leans negative (43%).
Africans included in the survey offer mixed views on South Korea. Ghanaians lean positive (41% favorable), Kenyans are divided, and Nigerians lean negative (37% unfavorable). This is an unusually negative view for Africans.
In the Middle East, views in Egypt (37%) and Turkey (30%) lean negative, while Azerbaijan is divided, though 63 per cent of Azeri do not have an opinion a way or another.