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Survey shows support for US actions against 'Islamic State'

A survey reveals that the reputation of the United States in the world has improved. The military campaign against the self-styled "Islamic State" also received majority approval among some 45,000 respondents.

US military efforts against the terrorist group "Islamic State" (IS) are broadly supported throughout the world, according to a survey released by the US-based Pew Research Center on Tuesday.

Sixty-two percent of people polled by the Pew Research Center across 40 countries said that they supported US military action against IS, including the current US bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. Only 24 percent of participants in the survey were against the military campaign.

The Pew report was answered by 45,435 respondents in 40 different countries. It was conducted between March 25 and May 27.

Torture remains a divisive issue

The survey also examined past issues which had tainted the image of the United States and asked, among other questions, whether people believed that the alleged use of torture against terrorist suspects after the 9/11 attacks was justified. Only about one-third of the foreign nationalities surveyed said they believed that it was warranted. Half of all respondents expressed dismay at the practice of torture techniques. These numbers compare with about 60 percent of American participants stating that they believed the torture tactics were defensible.

Meanwhile, in 30 of 40 countries, a majority also said that the US was the world's leading economic power. However, when asked about the future, people in 27 out of the 40 countries said that China would eventually eclipse the US as the dominant superpower.

Overall ratings of the US remained positive, with 69 percent of those surveyed expressing a favorable opinion. Jordan, Russia and Pakistan were the countries with the least favorable views on the United States.

Obama proves himself as a popular president abroad

US President Barack Obama was also seen as remaining high in his popularity in most countries; his ratings improved over the last year in 14 of the 40 countries. Obama was viewed as particularly popular in India, where almost three-quarters of the participants in the survey expressed their approval of the president. The sharpest decline in Obama's popularity occurred in Israel, where confidence in the US president slipped from 71 per cent in 2014 to 49 percent this year. Back in the US, opinion is divided on the president's performance under a "lame duck" session of Congress.

ss/msh (dpa)

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