More people around the world have an unfavorable opinion of U.S. policies than at any time in recent memory, according to a new BBC poll. The survey, which polled more than 26,000 people in 25 countries, found that a 49 percent plurality overall believes the U.S. is playing a "mainly negative" role in the world today, compared to less than a third (32 percent) who said Washington's influence was "mainly positive."
And in the 18 countries where respondents were asked the same question in each of the past two years, the latest poll found a substantial drop in the percentage who said they viewed U.S. influence as positive, from 40 percent (in 2005) to 29 percent (in 2007).
"According to world public opinion, these days the U.S. government hardly seems to be able to do anything right," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) which, along with Canada-based Globescan, conducted the survey.
Nearly three in four respondents overall (73 percent) said they disapproved of Washington's role in the Iraq war.
Opposition to the U.S. role in the conflict in Lebanon, during which Washington strongly backed Israel, was particularly intense in Argentina (79 percent "strongly disapproved of the U.S. role), Egypt (78 percent), Lebanon itself (76 percent), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (71 percent), France and Brazil (63 percent).
Sixty percent of respondents overall said they disapproved of Washington's handling of Iran's nuclear program.
On global warming, opposition to the Bush administration's policies was highest among European nations, particularly France and Germany (86 percent), Britain and Portugal (79 percent), and Italy (74 percent), all of which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.