Poll: Europe Pans Bush

W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 15, 2001 -- Europeans don't like President Bush.

That's the finding of a new poll, which finds wide margins of people in Germany, Great Britain, Italy and France disapprove of his attitudes and policies toward Europe.

Disapproval of Bush's foreign policy ranges from 49 percent in Great Britain to 65 percent in Germany. In contrast, Americans approve of Bush's international approach by 45 percent to 32 percent.

But overseas, more than 70 percent of people polled say Bush makes his decisions with no regard for Europe's interests. And large majorities said he understands the continent less than other presidents.

The ratings were well below those of former President Clinton, whose policies were popular throughout Western Europe.

The Pew Research Center commissioned the polls in conjunction with the International Herald-Tribune.

Morton Halperin of the Council on Foreign Relations, which also co-sponsored the poll, noted results show Europeans "do not express knee-jerk opposition to all the policies of the Bush administration."

"They applaud Bush's support for free trade and his willingness to keep American troops in Bosnia and Kosovo, reversing a campaign promise to begin taking those troops out," Halperin said.

But Bush's desire to build a missile defense system, and his decision to abandon the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases, were widely panned by Europeans in the poll.

"This means that European governments are unlikely to yield to administration pressure to go ahead with a missile defense system if it leads to terminating the [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty," Halperin said.

Princeton Survey Research Associates oversaw the contact of between 944 and 1,000 people for the poll in each of the nations early in August. Pew advises that "one can say with 95 percent confidence" that the polls have a 3.5 percent +/- margin of error. The U.S. poll was based on calls to 1,277 Americans from Aug. 6-7. The U.S. poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.