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 at foot of page two 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.”
For media interviews with the participating pollsters, please contact:
GlobeScan Incorporated is an international opinion research consultancy. We provide global organisations with evidence-based insight to help them set strategy and shape their communications. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs trust GlobeScan for our unique expertise across reputation management, sustainability and stakeholder relations. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is ISO 9001-2008 certified and a signatory to the UN Global Compact.
Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London, and San Francisco. www.GlobeScan.com.
The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, undertakes research on attitudes in publics around the world on a variety of international issues and manages the international research project WorldPublicOpinion.org.
BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering international, national and regional services in 32 languages. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 188 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite, and cable channels. It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. For more information, visit bbcworldservice.com. To find out more about the BBC’s English language offerings and subscribe to a free e-newsletter, visit bbcworldservice.com/schedules.