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Politics and Economy:
The U.S. and World Opinion
More on This Story:
Overview

World opinion of the United States has been fickle of late. The Pew Research Center for People and the Press, which conducts periodic studies of international opinion, found in May 2003 that global opinion of the U.S. had a brief positive increase at the quick end of the war with Iraq. However, the study, of 16,000 people worldwide, notes that favorable opinions of the U.S. are still lower in nearly every country than they were in 2002. Especially steep are the falls in the Muslim world — from 61 percent to 15 percent favorable in Indonesia; 71 percent to 38 percent among Muslims in Nigeria.

The Pew survey does show that most Muslim populations believe that Western-style democracy can work in their countries. In November 2003, the BBC follows up on its recent global TV debate "What the World Thinks of America," with a series on exporting democracy produced in conjunction with American media.

Late last year Pew released an extensive survey of world opinion. Included in the study were a number of questions designed to uncover the subtleties of foreign opinion on American politics, people, and lifestyles. In addition, Worldviews, a joint Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR) and German Marshall Fund of the United States survey project conducted every four years since 1974 has just released its post-9/11 findings.

Use these links to explore world opinion:

Below are some of the results of the Pew Center's study on global opinion. Among the top-line findings: it's American policies, not American people, that many respondents disliked. Participants were also asked whether the spread of American ideas and customs was a good or bad thing. Another line of inquiry gauged people's feelings about American foreign policy. They were asked: "In making international policy decisions, to what extent do you think the United States takes into account the interests of other countries?"

Favorable or Unfavorable View of the U.S.

Brazil: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Brazil: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 52%
 32%
Mexico: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Mexico: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 64%
 25%
Britain: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Britain: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 75%
 16%
Germany: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Germany: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 61%
 35%
Russia: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Russia: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 61%
 33%
Poland: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Poland: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 79 %
 11%
South Africa: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
South Africa: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 65%
 28%
Kenya: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Kenya: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 80%
 15%
India: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
India: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 54%
 27%
Japan: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Japan: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 72%
 26%
South Korea: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
South Korea: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 53%
44%
Egypt: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Egypt: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 6%
 69%
Pakistan: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Pakistan: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 10%
 69%
Turkey: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Turkey: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 30%
 55%
Jordan: % with somewhat or very favorable opinion of the U.S.:
Jordan: % with somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the U.S.:
 25%
 75%


Opinion on the Spread of American Ideas and Customs

Brazil: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Brazil: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 30%
 62%
Mexico: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Mexico: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 22%
 65%
Britain: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Britain: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 39%
 50%
Germany: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Germany: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 28%
 67%
Russia: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Russia: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 16%
 68%
Poland: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Poland: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 31%
 55%
South Africa: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
South Africa: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 43%
 45%
Kenya: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Kenya: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 40%
 55%
India: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
India: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 24 %
 54%
Japan: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Japan: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 49%
 35%
South Korea: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
South Korea: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 30%
 62%
Egypt: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Egypt: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 6%
 84%
Pakistan: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Pakistan: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 2%
 81%
Turkey: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Turkey: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 11%
 78%
Jordan: % good idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
Jordan: % bad idea American ideas and customs are spreading here:
 13%
 82%


U.S. Foreign Policy

Brazil: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Brazil: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all:
 37%
 55%
Mexico: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Mexico: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 42%
 52%
Britain: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Britain: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 44%
 52%
Germany: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Germany: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 53%
 45%
Russia: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Russia: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 22%
 70%
Poland: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Poland: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 29%
 59%
South Africa: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
South Africa: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 51%
 35%
Kenya: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Kenya: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 53%
 38%
India: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
India: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 38%
 31%
Japan: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Japan: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 36%
 59%
South Korea: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
South Korea: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 23%
 73%
Egypt: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Egypt: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 17%
 66%
Pakistan: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Pakistan: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 23%
 36%
Turkey: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Turkey: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 16%
 74%
Jordan: U.S. takes other countries' interests into account a great deal/fair amount:
Jordan: % U.S. takes other countries' interests into account not too much/not at all.:
 28%
 71%

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