Saturday 25 May 2013
Positive views of Brazil have sharply improved in the annual BBC World Service Country Rating Poll of 27 countries around the world.
Positive views of Brazil's influence jumped from 40 to 49 per cent on average over the previous year, with negative views dropping to just 20 per cent. Views of Brazil are now predominantly positive in all but two of the countries polled. The poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA, asked a total of 28,619 people to rate the influence in the world of 16 major nations, plus the European Union.
In the year when South Africa hosted the World Cup, the proportion positively rating its influence in the world rose significantly, from 35 to 42 per cent. Germany was again the most positively viewed nation, with 62 per cent rating its influence as positive (up three points).
Overall, positive ratings increased in 13 of the 16 nations rated. These include the USA – positive views of American influence rose an average of four points to 49 per cent, with 31 per cent negative. The United Kingdom's positive ratings rose five points to 58 per cent, making it, for the first time, the second most positively rated country. This upwards movement for many countries counters a downward movement found in 2010, but also, in most cases, surpasses the levels found in earlier years.
In marked contrast, the three most negatively viewed countries saw their average ratings go from bad to worse, including Iran (59 per cent negative, up three points since 2010), North Korea (55 per cent, up six points), and Pakistan (56 per cent, up five points). There was a significant increase in negative views of Iran in key Western countries including the United Kingdom (up 20 points), Canada (up 19 points), the USA (up 18 points), and Australia (up 15 points). However, Israel, for many years among the least positively viewed nations, bucked this trend, keeping its negative ratings at 49 per cent and showing a slight lift in positive ratings from 19 to 21 per cent.
The BBC World Service Country Rating Poll has been tracking opinions about country influence in the world since 2005. The latest results are based on 28,619 in-home or telephone interviews conducted across a total of 27 countries by the international polling firm GlobeScan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan co-ordinated fieldwork between 2 December 2010 and 4 February 2011.
Doug Miller, Chairman of GlobeScan, commented: "The growing credibility of middle powers is the story this year, especially Brazil and South Africa. The jump in positive views of Brazil follows the successful democratic transition from President Lula da Silva to Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first female president."
"While last year relatively dour views of nations were prevalent – perhaps reflecting the mood of the economic downturn – the mood now seems to be relatively upbeat," says Steven Kull, Director of PIPA.
The survey also finds that there has been a significant worsening of Chinese attitudes towards Russia during the past year. Positive views of Russia dropped eight points in China to 47 per cent, while negative views surged by 21 points to 40 per cent. Views of Russia improved this year in most other countries.
It also suggests that views of France in the USA are at last starting to improve. They rose 14 points to 56 per cent over the last year, and are now higher than at any stage since the first year of the poll in 2005. They reached a low point in 2006, when only around a third of Americans had a positive view of French influence in the world (34 per cent) while nearly half (48 cent) considered that France's influence in the world was negative.
As views of the USA continue to improve globally, the upwards trend is also apparent in Muslim countries. For the first time, a majority of Indonesians are now positive about the USA's role in the world (58 per cent, a rise of 22 points over the last year). Negative views of the USA in Turkey have dropped sharply from 70 per cent to 49 per cent, while negative views in Pakistan of the USA have also fallen slightly, from 52 per cent to 46 per cent. Conversely, Egypt, after a lift in 2009 and 2010, has reverted to a predominantly negative view of the USA, with 50 per cent of Egyptians considering that the USA's role in the world is mostly negative.
As is the case with Iran, the worsening in views of Pakistan is particularly apparent in some key Western countries. Negative views of Pakistan jumped from 44 to 68 per cent in the United Kingdom, 58 to 75 per cent in the USA, 54 to 74 per cent in Australia, and 49 to 67 per cent in Canada.
While overall views of Israel have not moved substantially over the past year, there have been significant increases in negative views of the country among Americans (negatives rising from 31 per cent to 41 cent) and Britons (from 50 per cent to 66 cent).