Anti-American attitudes have risen to new heights among people from Muslim countries, and they have gone up even among people from staunch U.S. allies, according to a new survey by the Pew Global Attitude Project.
America is not the only target of rotten tomatoes thrown from all over the global village.
In the extensive international opinion poll, all world powers--or their leaders -- saw higher unfavorable ratings among respondents. Among the losers: Russia's Vladimir Putin and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, as well as nations like China.
"Instead of showing a sense of optimism and can-do that has been evident in history since World War II, well, that seems to be moving away," said former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a news conference Wednesday. "There's this kind of sense of nihilism now."
Though the numbers paint an overall pessimistic take on America's image, Albright pointed to strong showings in Africa and non-Muslim parts of Asia.
"I am an optimist who worries a lot," Albright, who co-chaired the report, insisted.
America's image is still strong in Africa, where 74 percent of people polled expressed positive opinions of the United States, followed by Latin America (55 percent), Eastern Europe (48 percent), Asia (44 percent), Western Europe (43 percent) and Middle East (21 percent).
This is the sixth and largest installment of the Pew Global Attitudes Project. The survey encompasses 45,000 interviews from 47 countries over a two-month period.
Polling analysis by ABC News overall affirms the survey as representative of Pew's high standards, but data for some of the major countries like China, India and Brazil is too focused on urban areas, which don't represent a truly national opinion. ABC found similar issues in the samples used in Bolivia, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, South Africa and Venezuela.
Old Allies, New Disdain
The view of America from survey respondents in "old Europe" reached new lows this year, continuing a long slide that began in 2000. More than half of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany held a positive view of the United States at the start of this decade. Around 2003 and 2004, with the start of the Iraq War, those numbers had reversed with more than half of those surveyed holding an unfavorable view of the United States.
However, like many regions, the people of the United States' long-standing allies are able to separate views of American citizens from their government. More people expressed positive opinions of Americans than they do of the country as a whole, though these numbers are also sinking.
Germany provides a dramatic example where 63 percent of those surveyed said they have positive opinion of Americans, while just 30 percent rate the United States favorably, down from 42 percent from two years ago.
U.S. Image 'Abysmal' in Middle East
Respondents in Turkey registered the lowest favorability rating for the United States of any other country at 9 percent. The survey shows the United States continues to be widely unpopular in the Middle East -- more than three-in-four Palestinians, Turks, Egyptians and Jordanians expressed dislike for America.
Pew program director Donald Kimelman noted that overall negative feelings about the United States tracked with dislike of unilateralism and American-style democracy. "Rarely do we see such uniform answers," he said.
This divide falls in line with negative views of U.S.-style democracy. Most people in most countries surveyed say they dislike American ideas about democracy.
"However, sizable majorities in most African nations – as well as in Israel, South Korea and Japan – continue to express positive views of the U.S. approach to democracy," the Pew reported stated.
Even 63 percent of American respondents themselves feel the U.S. government decides to bestow the blessing of democracy only when it serves its interests, rather than universally.
Sources of negative opinions of the United States are broad, but not deep enough to dissuade many nations from looking to America to resolve different global issues –- suggesting a feeling of resentment rather than total rejection. The United States comes up as often as the United Nations as the party that should be responsible for dealing with the world's problems, notable global climate change and nuclear proliferation.
Opposition to the American military in Iraq is global. At least half of those surveyed in 43 of 47 countries said the United States should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. This sentiment is shared by most Americans – 56 percent say it is time for troops to leave Iraq. The most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll from June 1 said 61 percent of Americans think the war is not worth fighting.
One of the widely shared beliefs among all of Pew's surveyed nations is that U.S. policies widen the gap between rich and poor countries. At least half of respondents in 32 of 47 countries believe that the United States contributes to the rich-poor divide.
"The U.S. has created capitalists without creating capitalism that would let others share in economic wealth," commented Albright.
On this strain, the American way of doing business also saw slips in approval, especially in Middle Eastern countries and more developed Western economies.
America's soft power remains strong. Global likeability of U.S. technology and popular culture register nearly the same high rates as seen in 2002. However, greater swaths of some populations are turning up their noses at American books, television and music. More than two-thirds of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Turks, Palestinians and even Indians say they dislike U.S. media exports.
On the web: http://pewglobal.org/