Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2006: Findings on U.S. Image, Views of Iraq and Iran

Contact: Andrew Kohut, 202.419.4350


Washington, D.C. - 06/13/2006 - As President Bush makes a surprise visit to Iraq, a new global survey shows the continuing toll the war has taken on America’s global image. The United States’ global image has slipped again, even as Americans and publics of U.S. allies express common concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and the Hamas Party’s victory in Palestinian elections. And despite growing worries over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, America’s presence in Iraq is cited at least as often as Iran – and in many countries much more often – as a danger to world peace. The 15-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted among nearly 17,000 people in the United States and 14 other nations from March 31-May 14, finds:

  • Positive views of the United States have declined sharply in Spain (from 41 percent to 23 percent), India (71 percent to 56 percent), and Turkey (23 percent to 12 percent). Even in Indonesia, where U.S. tsunami aid helped lift America’s image in 2005, favorable opinions of the U.S. have fallen (from 38 percent to 30 percent).
  • Support for the U.S.-led war on terror, with few exceptions, is either flat or has declined; confidence in President Bush has fallen ever lower in Europe; and majorities in most countries believe that the U.S. will not achieve its objectives in Iraq.
  • Americans and Western publics are increasingly concerned over Iran. Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) view the current government in Iran as a “great danger” to stability in the Middle East and to world peace, up from 26 percent in 2003. In Germany, Spain, France and Great Britain, the percentage of people who see Iran as a great danger has roughly tripled compared with three years ago. But Muslim publics are far less alarmed by Iran and its nuclear program.
  • Divisions between the West and Muslim nations are even wider in opinions of the Hamas Party’s victory in Palestinian elections. On balance, Americans and Western Europeans – except for the British – feel the Hamas victory is bad for the Palestinian people. Muslim publics generally disagree.
  • Majorities in 10 of 14 foreign countries surveyed say the war in Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place. In Great Britain, 60 percent say the war has made the world more dangerous, compared with 30 percent who say it has made the world safer.
  • The bird flu disease has attracted overwhelming interest in every country surveyed. But for the most part, concerns over the bird flu are limited to Asia.
  • Global warming concerns are widespread in India and Japan – roughly two-thirds in each country say they worry a great deal about global warming. But in the U.S. and China, only about one-in-five say they worry a great deal about global warming.
About the Project

The Pew Global Attitudes Project is a series of worldwide public opinion surveys. More than 90,000 interviews in 50 countries have been conducted as part of the project. For further information, visit the project's Web site.

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