Germany Maintains Status as Most-Liked Country | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 07.02.2009
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Germany Maintains Status as Most-Liked Country

Global attitudes towards Russia and China have changed for the worse over the past year as positive ratings for the US are on the rise for the first time since 2005, a poll published by the BBC World Service showed.

A symbolic picture representing people standing around the earth

The poll focused on countries' influence on global affairs

As in previous years, Germany fared best in the poll, published Friday, Feb. 6, with every country viewing it positively, and 61 percent of people rating it favorably, up from 55 percent a year ago.

Britain also moved up seven points, with 58 percent of people rating it as having a positive influence.

Negative views about Russia jumped by eight points to 42 percent among the 13,000 people questioned in 21 countries, while 39 percent had a negative view of China's role in global affairs.

The survey, conducted by the international pollster GlobeScan, was taken after the election of US President Barack Obama.

It showed that attitudes towards the US are gradually becoming more favorable, although 43 percent of those asked still have a negative view of Washington's impact on world affairs.

US pulls ahead of Russia

However, the US, for the first time since 2005, surpassed Russia in positive ratings, with an average of 40 percent compared with 35 percent last year.

A Matryoshka doll in Bulgaria with Barack Obama's picture on it

Obama's election improved the US' image only slightly

The poll, in which GlobeScan cooperated with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland, was carried out in the 10 weeks leading up to Feb. 1.

In the same survey a year ago, in the same countries, people leaned more towards saying China and Russia were having a positive influence on the world, poll analysts said.

"Our poll results suggest that China has much to learn about winning hearts and minds in the world," said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller.

"It seems that a successful Olympic Games has not been enough to offset other concerns that people have," he said.

The poll also suggests that substantially more people now have a negative view of Russia's influence, which was judged negative by 42 percent and positive by just 30 percent.

"As for Russia, the more it acts like the old Soviet Union, the less people outside its borders seem to like it," Miller said.

Obama not a panacea

As was the case last year, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea were rated most negatively, the BBC said.

But the US is still rated negatively by 43 percent of those polled. However, this is an improvement from 47 percent 2008.

"Though BBC polls have shown that most people around the world are hopeful that Barack Obama will improve US relations with the world, it is clear that his election alone is not enough to turn the tide," said Steven Kull, director of Pipa.

"People are still looking to see if there are significant changes in US policies."

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