Poll: US global image survives spying concerns

Written by Associated Press | Washington | Updated: Jul 15 2014, 15:27pm hrs
US electronic surveillanceAmerica's reputation for protecting individual liberties has been damaged in the year since Snowden began sharing documents. (Thinkstock)
Widespread global opposition to US electronic surveillance since the revelations of National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has not badly harmed the overall image of the United States, and it remains far more popular around the world than rising power China, according to a poll released today.

A survey conducted by Pew Research Center among nearly 50,000 respondents in 44 countries also found that despite low ratings at home, President Barack Obama is still largely popular internationally.

A median 56 per cent across those nations said they have confidence for Obama to do the right thing in world affairs little changed from last year.

The biggest declines in his ratings since last year were found in two nations where the US was reported to have listened to the private phone conversations of national leaders: Germany and Brazil.

Confidence in Obama dropped by 17 percentage points in both.

The Pew Research Center interviewed 48,643 respondents in 44 countries from March 17 through June 5, 2014.

Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone, depending on the country, and are representative of at least 95 percent of the adult population of each nation except for Argentina, Greece, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan where some difficult to reach or rural populations were excluded, and Japan, where interviews were conducted by landline telephone only.

Samples in China, India and Pakistan, were disproportionately urban, and were weighted to reflect each nation's actual urbanity distribution.

Overall, a median of 65 per cent expressed a positive opinion of the US, although the rating was just 30 per cent in the Middle East. Among 35 countries around the world that were surveyed both in 2014 and 2013, the US rating was unchanged at 62 per cent.

There was no direct comparison available covering all the countries covered in the survey.

America's reputation for protecting individual liberties has, however, been damaged in the year since Snowden began sharing documents on US interception of communications. Yet the US still ranks far higher on that count than China and Russia, and by a narrow margin, France.

In all, majorities in 30 nations expressed a favorable opinion of the US Notwithstanding declines in American popularity gauged in Germany and Greece in recent years, there's no evidence of a rise of anti-Americanism in most of Western Europe, as happened in the middle of last decade after the invasion of Iraq.