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Wednesday 2 April 2008

Americans views of British influence: what the heck is going on?

The annual review by the BBC World Service of world opinion of country's influence headlines improving views of the United States, but I noticed a nugget in it which seems to have been missed: Americans dislike UK 'influence' more than almost anyone - and that's increasing.
Positive views of Britain have slipped considerably in the United States (45%, down from 67%) while negative views have increased significantly (42%, up from 18%).
In the graph image to the right the US view of Britain is second from the top.

Overall, says the report:
Views of Britain remain largely positive and have grown more positive over the last year. Among those countries polled in both years, on average positive views have grown from 46 per cent to 50 per cent, while negative views have fallen from 29 per cent to 24 per cent. Views improved significantly in 13 countries and worsened in three.

Out of 23 countries that evaluated Britain in 2007 and 2008, 16 have most saying their view is mainly positive, while in four the most common view is mainly negative (down from six in 2007) and three are divided.

Notable increases in positive views of Britain have occurred in predominantly Muslim publics, including the UAE (54%, up from 31%), Turkey (36%, up from 21%), and Lebanon (39%, up from 32%). Views of Britain are also considerably more favourable among South Koreans (77%, up from 61%) and the Chinese (56%, up from 49%).

Positive views are up considerably in France (54%, up from 44%) while negative views are down (21%, falling from 42%) so that now a majority says they view Britain positively. Italians also show marked improvement in their views of Britain (70%, up from 56%), as do Australians (72%, up from 60%) and Kenyans (85%, up from 74%).

Positive views have also fallen in Russia (43%, down from 55%), Portugal (56%, down from 65%), and in India (22%, down from 37%), but the overall view of Britain’s influence remains positive.

Among publics polled for the first time this year, views of Britain are largely positive, with this being the most common view in Ghana (69%), Israel (67%), Spain (55%), Japan (39%), and publics of Central America (31%).

What da heck is going on, Mr Milliband?

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