People were asked to rate 12 countries—Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the USA, Venezuela, and the European Union—as having a positive or negative influence.
Canada, Japan, the European Union, and France were judged most positively. Britain, China and India received more positive than negative evaluations while Russia was viewed slightly more negatively than positively. Opinions about Venezuela were evenly divided.
(Details of the evaluations of the United States were released separately by the BBC on 23 January).
The BBC has been tracking opinions about countries influence in the world over three years (2005–2007). During that time most ratings have remained relatively stable. There has been improvement in the case of India, a slight decline in views about Britain and a significant fall in positive evaluations of the United States. Russia, China, and France also lost ground over the period, mainly between 2005 and 2006.
Steven Kull, Director of PIPA, commented: “It appears that people around the world tend to look negatively on countries whose profile is marked by the use or pursuit of military power. This includes Israel and the US, who have recently used military force, and North Korea and Iran, who are perceived as trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
“Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like Japan, France, and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively,” he added.
GlobeScan president Doug Miller said: “India is the only country that has significantly improved its global stature in the past year, and is now even with China. Britain, while slipping a bit since 2005, appears to be avoiding the steep decline that its war partner, the US, is suffering. And it is fascinating that Chavez's Venezuela seems to be appealing to as many people as it is displeasing.”
The poll was conducted for the BBC World Service by
the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on
International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan
coordinated the fieldwork between November 2006 and January 2007. Each country's
rating is based on half-samples.
The BBC survey gave respondents a list of 12 countries and asked whether they had a “mostly positive or mostly negative influence in the world.” The country with the highest number of mostly negative responses overall is Israel (56% negative, 17% positive), followed by Iran (54% negative 18% positive), the United States (51% negative, 30% positive), and North Korea (48% negative, 19% positive).
Israel also stands out for having the largest number of countries (23 of 27) viewing it negatively. Iran is regarded unfavourably in 21 countries, the United States and North Korea in 20.
The most positive ratings were given to Canada (54% positive, 14% negative), Japan (54% positive, 20% negative), the European Union (53% positive 19% negative) and France (50% positive, 21% negative). Japan is viewed favourably by 24 countries, France by 25 countries, and the EU by 24 countries.
Another three countries tend to be viewed more favourably than unfavourably: Britain (45% positive, 28% negative), China (42% positive, 32% negative), and India (37% positive, 26% negative). Views of Russia, however, lean slightly negative (40% negative, 28% positive).
Views are divided about Venezuela, an oil rich country whose President is an outspoken opponent of US policy. Equal numbers say Venezuela's global influence is negative and positive (27% each). Nearly half (46%), however, decline to offer an opinion.
In total 28,389 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States were interviewed between 3 November 2006 and 16 January 2007. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In 10 of the 27 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. Given that country rating were given by half-samples, the margin of error per country ranges from +/-3.1 to 4.9 percent. For more details, please see the Methodology section or visit www.globescan.com or www.pipa.org.
The 19 countries polled in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and for which tracking results are available, include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey and the United States.
For detailed results for each country rated, please see the Backgrounder.
GlobeScan Incorporated is a global public opinion and stakeholder research firm with offices in Toronto, London, and Washington. GlobeScan conducts custom research and annual tracking studies on global issues. With a research network spanning 50+ countries, GlobeScan works with global companies, multilateral agencies, national governments, and non-government organizations to deliver research-based insights for successful strategies.
The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. PIPA undertakes research on attitudes in publics around the world on a variety of international issues and publishes the website/webzine WorldPublicOpinion.org.
The BBC exists to enrich people’s lives with great programmes and services on television, radio and online that inform, educate and entertain. Its vision is to be the most creative, trusted organization in the world. BBC reporters and correspondents at home and abroad can be called on for expert coverage across a huge range of subject areas. With over sixty foreign bureaux, the BBC has the largest newsgathering operation in the world. BBC World Service provides international news, analysis and information in English and 32 other languages.
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