POST Online Media Lite Edition


Foreign countries: Americans like what U.S. government likes

Staff Writer |
Canada once again ranks as the country or territory that Americans view most favorably, while North Korea ranks the least favorably among 22 countries on the world stage.

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Americans also view Great Britain, Japan, Norway, Germany, France and South Korea very positively. Five Middle Eastern countries - Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq - rank just above North Korea at the bottom of the list.

Historically, Americans have largely given positive ratings to the nations with whom the U.S. maintains good relationships and negative ones to the countries that the U.S. tangles with in world affairs, or that represent a military threat.

These patterns hold true in the latest update of Americans' views of foreign countries from Gallup's World Affairs survey, conducted February 1-10.

Americans' views of nations vary widely, with an 88-percentage-point gap separating favorability ("very favorable" and "mostly favorable" combined) toward Canada (94%) and North Korea (6%).

These countries' ratings are near the historical high and low, respectively, among all of the countries Gallup has measured. Canada earned the highest favorability of 96% in 2012 while Iran and Iraq each earned the lowest favorability of 5% several times.

In addition to North Korea and the five Middle Eastern countries with low favorability, Russia (25%), Saudi Arabia (41%) and Cuba (48%) all fall below majority-level favorability.

Overall, favorability ratings reached a majority level for 13 of the 22 countries in the poll. In addition to the six countries with 80% or higher favorable ratings, India (75%), Israel (74%) and Mexico (61%) all maintained strong positive readings, while Egypt (59%) and China (53%) saw a significant increase in favorability.

China crept onto the majority favorable list for the first time in nearly three decades, with 53% favorability.

Gallup tested opinions on Norway and Haiti for the first time in this survey, after President Donald Trump's widely reported comments in January in which he said the U.S. needs more migrants from places such as Norway and fewer migrants from Haiti and other countries.

Six in 10 Americans view Haiti favorably, but there was a considerable partisan difference in opinions. Republicans view Haiti less favorably than Democrats do, 53% vs. 71%, respectively.

There is, however, no partisan difference in opinions of Norway with 85% of all Americans, including the same percentage of Democrats and Republicans, holding a positive opinion of the Scandinavian country.

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