U.S. image plunges in global survey

WASHINGTON Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:17am EDT

Demonstrators burn a replica of a U.S. flag after the arrival of President Bush in Bogota, Colombia, March 11, 2007. The United States' image is plummeting in many corners of the globe, but China and other large powers are falling from favor as well, according to a global survey released on Wednesday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

Demonstrators burn a replica of a U.S. flag after the arrival of President Bush in Bogota, Colombia, March 11, 2007. The United States' image is plummeting in many corners of the globe, but China and other large powers are falling from favor as well, according to a global survey released on Wednesday.

Credit: Reuters/Daniel Munoz

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States' image is plummeting in many corners of the globe, but China and other large powers are falling from favor as well, according to a global survey released on Wednesday.

The 47-country survey also found global warming and other environmental problems are seen as the top threat in many places, ahead of nuclear proliferation, AIDS and other dangers.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project has documented wide anti-American sentiment since it was launched in 2002 but found those attitudes deepening this year.

The United States' favorable ratings declined in 26 of the 33 countries for which a comparison was available, with negative views particularly strong in the Middle East.

Only 9 percent of those surveyed in Turkey had a favorable view of the United States, while 13 percent did in the Palestinian territories. The United States fared better in Lebanon, where 47 percent responded positively.

Public sentiment also fell among long-standing U.S. allies, where many said the United States did not take the interests of other countries into account.

Just 30 percent of Germans had a favorable image of the United States, down from 42 percent two years ago. Public opinion remained positive, although narrowly so, in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Overall, majorities in 25 of the 47 countries reported favorable images of the United States.

CHINA SLIPS

China's image slipped as well, as many respondents said they were unnerved by its growing military and economic clout. Most countries still reported favorable views of China, with public opinion particularly strong in South Asia and Africa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin saw a sharp decline in favorability ratings, especially in Europe. In Germany, for example, 75 percent viewed him favorably in 2003, but only 32 percent in 2007.

Leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who challenge the existing order found few admirers. Osama bin Laden was viewed favorably only in one place, the Palestinian territories, where 57 percent said they had confidence in him.

"The international system as we know it has broken down, according to these numbers," said former Secretary of State Madeline Albright at a press conference unveiling the report. "It's kind of a sense of nihilism."

Majorities in 33 of the 47 countries surveyed reported a favorable view of the United Nations, with support strongest in Africa and weakest in the Middle East.

The survey polled 45,000 people in telephone and in-person interviews. Sample sizes ranged from 500 to 2,000 people in each country. The margin of error was 2 to 4 percent.

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