Commentary: Bucking the Global Trend, U.S. Popularity Soared in India in ’05

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

03/02/2006 - Looking for some good news amid the often dismal findings about America’s image abroad? Try India. Anti-Americanism has surged in much of the world since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, but India has bucked the trend. Among Indians, America’s image has actually improved in recent years.

Across a range of measures, Indian public opinion is consistently pro-American. The 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that about seven-in-ten Indians (71 percent) have a favorable view of the United States. Of the 17 countries polled in the survey, only Americans themselves hold a more favorable view of their country. And while U.S. favorability ratings have plunged in many countries, Indians are significantly more positive about the United States now than they were in the summer of 2002, when 54 percent gave the U.S. favorable marks.

In the world’s largest democracy, moreover, President Bush, who is unpopular in many countries around the globe, is also widely admired. Just over half (54 percent) of Indians say they have a lot or some confidence that Bush will generally do the right thing in world affairs, a significantly higher percentage than in any other country except his own. Indeed, of the 16 countries surveyed on this question in 2005, India was the only one, aside from the United States, in which a majority expressed at least some confidence in the American president.

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