Germany has kept its position as the most positively viewed country and Iran the most unfavourably viewed
THE COUNTRY RATINGS POLL
The Country Ratings Poll which polled 24,542 people in 24 nations around the world was conducted by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service. Period: between December 2013 and April 2014.
Respondents were asked to rate 24 countries and the EU on whether their influence in the world is “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.”
In five of the 24 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.5 to 6.1 per cent.
Views of Russia have strongly deteriorated since last year, as shown in the latest 24-country poll for BBC World Service, conducted mostly before the events in Crimea. Feelings are the most negative since the poll began, in 2005.
Negative views of Russia now average 45 per cent across the countries polled in 2013 and 2014. They largely outweigh positive views (31%), and have gone up four points since 2013. The worsening opinion of Russia is a general trend observed in many different countries across all continents.
Steven Kull, Director of PIPA, commented: “Though the polling period mostly pre-dated the action in Crimea and overlapped the Sochi games and the freeing of Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot members, it was also a period during which Putin had pressed Ukraine to not move toward the EU, and when the first riots took place in the streets of Kiev.”
The poll also finds that views of the United States have worsened around the world, led by sharp increases in negative views among citizens of Spain (up 19 points), Germany (up 18 points) and Brazil (up 15 points).
GlobeScan’s Lionel Bellier commented: “It is probably not a coincidence that the nations that showed the sharpest increases in negative views of the United States – Spain, Germany, and Brazil – are ones where extensive US surveillance activity has been discovered and widely criticized.”
Views of the USA have also declined in Canada, and, more sharply, among traditionally friendly African countries. This is the third consecutive year that the perceived influence of the USA has worsened.
Views of the EU have also eroded, with perceptions of the institution being at their worst globally since the poll was first conducted.
Perceptions of the EU had stabilised in 2013 after the big drop in positive views that occurred in 2012, but the declining trend has resumed again this year. Forty-seven per cent of respondents in tracking countries feel that the EU has a positive influence. This is down two points, while negative ratings have simultaneously gone up by two points (now 27%). Views of the global public towards the EU are at their worst since the poll began.
Meanwhile, Germany has kept its position as the most positively viewed country, with 60 per cent worldwide giving it positive ratings. As in 2013, it is followed by Canada (57%), and the UK (56%).
The UK is the country whose perceived influence in the world has most improved from 2005 to the present. Negative ratings have simultaneously dropped eight points, from 29 to 21 per cent
Conversely, China’s perceived influence has worsened the most over the same decade.
Japan has continued its downward movement. In 2012 Japan was the most positively rated country, while in 2013 it dropped to fourth place with an average seven-point decline in positive ratings. This year Japan has dropped two more points and is now in fifth place among all assessed.
Negative views of Japan have grown particularly stark among some of its key East Asian neighbours. In South Korea, negative views have risen 12 points to almost four in five (79%).
Negative views of Japan have hit an astonishing record high of 90 per cent among Chinese (up from 74%).
Several of the BRIC countries (Russia notwithstanding) that saw their ratings decline strongly last year have corrected in a positive way in 2014. On India positive views are up 4 points and now scores 38% positively while China enjoys a 42% positive view, up 2 points.
For South Africa there was a five-point increase in positive ratings among tracking countries surveyed both in 2013 and 2014 (up to 39%), making it the most improved nation.
THE MOST UNFAVOURABLY VIEWED
Iran remains the most unfavourably viewed country, followed by Pakistan and North Korea. Israel continues to be the fourth most negatively viewed nation, despite an uptick of three points in its positive ratings and a decline in its negative ratings (down 2 points) that differentiates it from the other worst-rated nations.
LONG TERM TRENDS
The BBC Country Ratings Poll is marking its 10th anniversary this year. Looking back at a decade of ratings, some broad trends are clearly identifiable as to how some countries are being viewed globally in terms of their world influence.
Over the past decade, the country whose perceived influence in the world has most improved is the UK going up six points, from 52 to 58 per cent on average across the long-term tracking countries.
Conversely, the country whose influence in the world has worsened the most over the past decade is China. In 2005 positive views were held by nearly half (48%) and strongly outweighed negative views (32%), but since then perceptions have flipped: positive views have dropped 13 points to 35 per cent in 2014 and are now eclipsed by negative views (49%, up 17 points).
The long-term trend of perceptions of Russia is also down sharply. Neutral in 2005 with as many positive ratings as negative ones, views have since gradually worsened. The proportion of negative ratings has risen 12 points to 51 per cent over the past decade and now far outweighs the proportion of those with positive perceptions, which has dropped eight points to 31 per cent.
The long-term trends of the EU and Japan over the past decade have been relatively similar. Faring both consistently quite high in terms of positive views from 2006 up until 2011 for the EU (57%), and up until 2012 for Japan (58%), their perceived world influence has seen a continuous decline since. Those who rate the two places negatively hit record highs in 2014, going up 11 points since 2006 in the case of the EU to reach 30 per cent in 2014, and eight points in the case of Japan to reach 32 per cent in 2014.
Perceptions of the USA were in majority negative from 2005 until 2007 when negative views of the country (58 per cent of respondents) significantly outnumbered positive ones. A durable recovery started in 2008, lasting over the course of Obama’s first term up until 2012 when positive views were at a high (44%, up 19 points since 2007) and outnumbered negative ratings concurrently at a low (38%).
Overall, over the decade, while negative views of the USA have softened and dropped five points between 2005 (52%) and 2014 (47%), positive views have merely gone up two points to 36 per cent in 2014.
Additional photo credits
Featured image: Germania painted by Philipp Veit, uploaded by Soerfm . PD
Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Diego_3336, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr
Moscow by Wecameasromans, CC-BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Mumbia by Cididity Hat, CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Shanghai by dawvon – Pudong, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr
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