Who likes America and who hates it? And have their opinions changed in the last decade? These are the questions at the heart of a new study out Thursday from Pew Research Center.
Analysts surveyed thousands of citizens from 38 nations and found that America’s reputation has generally declined over the last decade since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was highly unpopular around the world. Drops from the war were followed by yet another decline after the 2008 financial crisis, due to the perceived greed on Wall Street leading up to the crash.
Overall, however, global attitudes toward the U.S. remain largely positive, with 28 of the 38 nations Pew surveyed expressing a favorable opinion (by comparison, just 19 countries viewed China in a favorable light). Moreover, ratings for the U.S. are slightly higher now than they were during the tenure of President George W. Bush.
European nations generally give the U.S. high marks in 2013, though percentages from Britain, France and Germany have declined by about 10 percent since 2009. Greece remains the only European nation polled where fewer than half (39 percent) offered a positive assessment of the U.S.
America has some of its biggest supporters in sub-Saharan Africa, where all nations surveyed have tremendously positive views. “Africans overwhelmingly offer favorable assessments of the U.S.,” Pew said in the report. “Roughly seven in 10 or more see America in a positive light,” including both Muslim and Christian nations.
Latin Americans have generally high opinions of the U.S., too, with the exceptions of Argentina (40 percent favorable) and Venezuela (41 percent favorable). The U.S. receives affirmative ratings in most nations surveyed in Asia as well, with China and Pakistan being the two blaring exceptions.
“Chinese attitudes have changed significantly over the past three years,” Pew noted. “In 2010, 58 percent had a favorable opinion of the U.S., compared with 40 percent now. Meanwhile, anti-Americanism has been widespread in Pakistan in recent years, and today just 11 percent have a favorable view.”
All nations surveyed in the Middle East, save Israel, expressed largely negative opinions of the U.S. Six of the 10 nations with the least-favorable opinion came from the region, including Lebanon (47 percent favorable), Tunisia (42 percent favorable), Turkey (21 percent favorable), Palestinian territories (16 percent favorable) and Jordan (14 percent favorable).
America tends to find its strongest supporters worldwide in college-educated people under the age of 30. Moreover, nations with strong military or financial ties tend to have the most ardent supporters. Click through the slideshow above for a look at the 10 nations with the most positive feelings for America.
***Survey results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International and based on national samples.