U.S. Public’s Perceptions of How Other Countries View U.S. Foreign Policy Increasingly Negative
February 24, 2003
Continuing Decline in US Public’s Rating of US Policy on Europe, Russia, North Korea
Amid intensifying international criticism and worldwide demonstrations against U.S. policy on Iraq, the US public’s perceptions of how other countries view U.S. foreign policy continues to move in a negative direction. Asked, “on average, how do you think people in other countries rate how well the United States is managing its foreign policy,” a majority of 55 percent now gives a negative rating (19% neutral, 23% positive). The net rating (percentage giving positive ratings minus percentage giving a negative rating) has declined 6 percentage points since January and 16 percentage points since November, and now stands at minus 31 percent.
Asked specifically about European allies, 47 percent of U.S. respondents assumed that people in those countries have a negative attitude toward U.S. foreign policy (neutral 20%, positive 28%). The net rating has declined 8 percentage points since January and 31 percentage points since November, and now stands at minus 20 percent.
Perhaps in part due to the above-mentioned perceived declines in other countries’ approval of U.S. policy, Americans are also showing a continuing reduction in their satisfaction with U.S. foreign policy on several fronts.
Asked how well the United States is “handling relations withï¿½our European allies,” the percentage giving a positive rating has slipped to 46 percent (neutral 20%, negative 25%). The net rating is still a positive 21 percent, but down from a positive 36 percent in January and a positive 42 percent in November.
Views of U.S. handling of relations with Russia have also slipped. Positive ratings stand at 45 percent (neutral 22%, negative 23%). Here too, while the net is still quite positive at plus 22 percent, it is significantly lower than in January at plus 31 percent, and in November at plus 39 percent.
U.S. handling of relations with North Korea has dropped sharply, with 42 percent now giving it a negative rating (neutral 21%, positive 33%). The net rating is now a negative 9 percent, down 10 percentage points from January.
None of the areas rated showed any significant positive movement, while the overall foreign policy rating was statistically unchanged at plus 15 percent.