Pakistan, Iran, Israel world’s least popular nations: poll

Views of China and Russia Decline in Global Poll
BBC World Service Poll, February 6, 2009

Public views of China and Russia have slipped considerably in the past year, according to a new BBC World Service poll across 21 countries.

Views of the US have improved modestly over the past year but remain predominantly negative, even though the poll was taken after President Obama’s election. In last year’s BBC Poll across the same countries, people leaned toward saying China and
Russia were having positive influences in the world. But views of China are now divided, with positive ratings having slipped six points to 39 per cent, while 40 per cent are now negative. Negative views of Russia have jumped eight points so that now, substantially more have a negative (42%) than a positive view (30%) of Russia’s influence.

Views of the US showed improvements in Canada, Egypt, Ghana, India, Italy and Japan. But far more countries have predominantly negative views of America (12), than predominantly positive views (6). Most Europeans show little change and views of the US in Russia and China have grown more negative. On average, positive views have risen from 35 per cent to 40 per cent, but they are still outweighed by negative views (43%, down from 47%).

As was the case last year, Iran, Israel and Pakistan are the three countries rated most negatively. Iran had the poorest average ratings of the countries people were asked to rate, with 55 per cent feeling it has a negative influence in the world. Fourteen of the twenty one countries see it as having a negative influence.

Pakistan also gets very low ratings with 53 per cent giving negative ratings and 17 percent positive ones. Eighteen countries see Pakistan as having a negative influence.

The largest number of countries - 19 out of 21 - give negative ratings to Israel. The two exceptions are Americans (where slightly more are positive) and Russians (who are divided). On average, 51 per cent in countries polled say it is having a negative influence and 21 per cent say it is having a positive influence. It should be noted that most polling occurred before Israel undertook its military operation in
Gaza, and before the recent interruption in Russian gas supplies to Europe.

As last year, the most positive views are of Germany, with positive ratings rising even higher from 55 per cent to 61 per cent on average. Every country polled has a favourable view of Germany.

The UK has also moved up seven points, with an average of 58 per cent today saying it is having a positive influence.

For Detailed Poll Findings (pdf), click here


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