Just how unpopular is Iran?

The BBC World Service commissioned a survey to gauge public attitudes towards different countries in the world. My new favorite web site, worldpublicopinion.org, has a summary of the findings: A major BBC World Service poll exploring how people in 33 countries view various countries found not a single country where a majority has a positive ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
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590225_1733366760_views2.jpg

The BBC World Service commissioned a survey to gauge public attitudes towards different countries in the world. My new favorite web site, worldpublicopinion.org, has a summary of the findings: A major BBC World Service poll exploring how people in 33 countries view various countries found not a single country where a majority has a positive view of Iran?s role in the world (with the exception of Iranians themselves). Views of Iran are lower than the US, although the US continues to get low marks, as does Russia. Views of China, France, and Russia are down sharply compared to a similar BBC World Service poll conducted at the end of 2004. Japan is the country most widely viewed as having a positive influence, and Europe as a whole gets the most positive ratings of all.... In 24 of the 33 countries polled, majorities (in 14 countries) or pluralities (in 10) say that Iran is having a negative influence in the world. In five other countries a plurality says that Iran is having a positive influence, but in three of these the proportion who say this is less than a third. On average across the 33 countries just 18 percent say Iran is having a positive influence while 47 percent say Iran is having a negative influence.... Steven Kull, director of PIPA says, ?Iran may imagine that there are many people out there rooting for it as it defies the big powers with its nuclear program. But this poll suggests that the number of people behind it is quite small and swamped by much larger numbers who are worried about the direction Iran is going.? Here's a link to the full questionnaire and methodology. Of course, if you look at the table below, the U.S. doesn't have a lot to crow about either:

There is one interesting tidbit from the individual country results -- the U.S. does extraordinarily well among African countries, better than the EU. I have no explanation for why this is true. UPDATE: Just to clear up one confusion in the comments thread -- Europe did not earn a more favorable rating because Europeans were included in that measure. If you read the methodology document, you'll see that they were excluded from their own rating, just like the USA.

The BBC World Service commissioned a survey to gauge public attitudes towards different countries in the world. My new favorite web site, worldpublicopinion.org, has a summary of the findings:

A major BBC World Service poll exploring how people in 33 countries view various countries found not a single country where a majority has a positive view of Iran?s role in the world (with the exception of Iranians themselves). Views of Iran are lower than the US, although the US continues to get low marks, as does Russia. Views of China, France, and Russia are down sharply compared to a similar BBC World Service poll conducted at the end of 2004. Japan is the country most widely viewed as having a positive influence, and Europe as a whole gets the most positive ratings of all…. In 24 of the 33 countries polled, majorities (in 14 countries) or pluralities (in 10) say that Iran is having a negative influence in the world. In five other countries a plurality says that Iran is having a positive influence, but in three of these the proportion who say this is less than a third. On average across the 33 countries just 18 percent say Iran is having a positive influence while 47 percent say Iran is having a negative influence…. Steven Kull, director of PIPA says, ?Iran may imagine that there are many people out there rooting for it as it defies the big powers with its nuclear program. But this poll suggests that the number of people behind it is quite small and swamped by much larger numbers who are worried about the direction Iran is going.?

Here’s a link to the full questionnaire and methodology. Of course, if you look at the table below, the U.S. doesn’t have a lot to crow about either:

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There is one interesting tidbit from the individual country results — the U.S. does extraordinarily well among African countries, better than the EU. I have no explanation for why this is true. UPDATE: Just to clear up one confusion in the comments thread — Europe did not earn a more favorable rating because Europeans were included in that measure. If you read the methodology document, you’ll see that they were excluded from their own rating, just like the USA.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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