May 22, 2013
Positive views of China and India have fallen sharply around the world over the last year, a new 25-country poll for BBC World Service indicates.
The poll also finds that views of the UK have improved in the wake of its hosting of the 2012 Olympics, making the UK the third most positively rated country. Of the other fifteen countries rated, nine saw their ratings positive worsen this year while the UK was the most improved.
The 2013 Country Ratings Poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among 26,299 people around the world between December 2012 and April 2013, asked respondents to rate 16 countries and the EU on whether their influence in the world is “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.”
On average positive views of China across 21 tracking countries have dropped eight points to 42 per cent while negative views have risen by the same amount to reach 39 per cent. After improving for several years, views of China have sunk to their lowest level since polling began in 2005. India has shown a similar decline, with negative views up eight points and positive views down six. For the first time this year, those negative views (35%) slightly outnumber those with positive views of India (34%). Overall, China is ranked ninth, while India is ranked twelfth.
Germany regained the position of the most favourably viewed country, with 59 per cent worldwide rating it positively. It displaces Japan, which saw its positive ratings plunge from 58 to 51 per cent and fell from first to fourth place overall. The UK, rated positively by 55 per cent, has climbed from fourth to third place with a four-point increase in positive views since 2012, more than for any other country.
Positive views of the EU dropped to their lowest level last year but have stabilised this year, rising one point to 49% on average among the tracking countries. But this masks significant movements: while views in some countries recovered after last year’s slump, there has been a sharp drop in positive ratings by Germans (down 14 points to 59% this year), Egyptians (down 22 points to 29%), Canadians and Americans (respectively 51% and 46%, both down ten points). Among Britons, positive views of EU influence have been falling steadily since 2008, and for the first time this year, more rate it negatively (47%) than positively (42%).
Views of the US have shown some sharp declines among the citizens of its allies the UK (46%, down from 60%), France (52%, down from 62%), and Germany (35%, down from 44%), as well as in Egypt (24%, down from 37%). On a global scale, however, views have only slipped slightly (from 47% to 45% positive, with 34% now negative).
Iran is once again the most negatively viewed country, with negative ratings climbing four points to 59%. Most people also give negative ratings to Pakistan (56%, up five points), North Korea (55%, up three points) and Israel (52%, up one point).
Steven Kull, Director of PIPA, commented: “While China and India’s prestige was enhanced by defying the gravity of the economic downturn, they seem to be falling back to earth with slowing growth rates and a perception of widespread corruption. The scandals surrounding the treatment of women in India may also have had an impact on this year’s findings.”
GlobeScan Director Sam Mountford commented: “With ratings of most countries declining this year, it appears that frustration with governments in general is growing, as nearly five years on from the financial crisis they seem incapable of pulling their economies out of the slump. But the ‘Olympics effect’ looks to have allowed the UK to buck this negative global trend.”
A total of 26,299 citizens across 25 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 10, 2012 and April 9, 2013. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Countries were rated by half samples in all countries polled except for Egypt, India, Japan, and Poland. In six of the 25 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 3.0 to 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.