Views of US Continue to Improve in 2011 BBC Country Rating Poll
Views of the US continued their overall improvement in 2011, according to the annual BBC World Service Country Rating
Poll of 27 countries around the world.
Of the countries surveyed, 18 hold predominantly positive views of the US, seven hold negative views and two are
divided. On averagei, 49 per cent of people have positive views of US influence in the world—up four points from
2010—and 31 per cent hold negative views. 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 2007 a slight majority (54%) had a negative view of the United States and only close to three in ten (28%) had a
positive view; America was among the countries with the lowest ratings. Views began to rise in 2008, with positive views
rising to 32% on average, and now the USA is in a middle tier position, ranking substantially higher than China.
A country that showed even greater improvement this year was Brazil. 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 (Germany and China).
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 3 points).
Overall, positive ratings increased of 13 of the 16 nations rated. These also included the United Kingdom, whose
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% negative, up 3 points since 2010), North Korea (55%, up 6 points), and Pakistan (56%, up 5 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 coordinated fieldwork between December 2, 2010 and February 4, 2011.
There seems to be a consolidation of the “Obama effect” here, notes Steven Kull, Director of PIPA at the University of
Maryland, which worked on the poll together with GlobeScan.