October 23, 2007 / 10:12 PM / 12 years ago

Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iran is the country most people around the world would like see having less power, followed closely by the United States, a new opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey, which polled 57,000 people from 52 countries, showed 39 percent of respondents wanted to see the influence of Iran diminished, compared with 37 percent for the United States.

Only 14 percent of people taking part in the poll wanted Iran to have more power while 26 percent thought more U.S. influence would make the world a better place.

The poll, commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a new think tank on EU affairs, found more people wanted Russia and China to have less power than hoped they would gain influence.

Thirty-five percent wanted the European Union to have more influence in the future, while 20 percent wanted the opposite.

“The poll results show that the public does not yearn for a world order where U.S. hegemony is simply replaced by the rivalry of other military powers such as Russia and China,” the ECFR said in a news release announcing the poll’s findings.

“There seems to be increasing support for countries whose rise is not connected in the global imagination with military might,” it said, noting India, South Africa and Brazil all received positive overall approval ratings.

The poll might make for happy reading for EU policy-makers, keen to raise the bloc’s profile, but they should not overlook some interpretations of the findings, the ECFR noted.

“The paradox of the EU’s power is that its strength may be rooted to some extent in the perception of its weakness,” the news release said.

“The fact that nobody is interested in balancing the EU may stem — at least in part — from a perception that the EU is unlikely to get its act together,” it said.

The poll was carried out by Gallup International in June and August.

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