The reputation of the US in Europe risks sinking back to Bush-era levels
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Mitt Romney: only one in 20 of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany held a positive view of him.
The reputation of the US in Europe risks sinking back to Bush-era levels of unpopularity if Mitt Romney becomes president, according to new international polling published on Tuesday.
Only around one in 20 of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany by YouGov held a positive view of the Republican presidential nominee.
The poll of more than 12,000 people across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and China was prepared for the YouGov-Cambridge forum this week at which the Guardian is a media partner.
The results are a sign that affection for Barack Obama has diminished little since his 2008 speech in Berlin in which he promised to restore America's reputation on the world stage, even though, four years on, Guantánamo remains open and the US is still engaged in military action in Afghanistan.
But while Europeans had a strongly negative reaction to Romney, the prospect of him winning the White House was greeted with less dismay in Pakistan, where about 13% of respondents said it would make them more favourable to the US, compared to just 9% who said it would make them less favourable.
This is possibly a reflection of the anger towards the Obama administration over drone attacks which have led to civilian deaths and are viewed as an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.
There was less antipathy, too, in the Middle East and north Africa, where only 8% said they felt a Romney presidency would make them feel less favourable towards the US.
Again, the reason for this may be more to do with negative feelings about the current administration, in particular its failure to mount a serious attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, than warmth for Romney.
But the most striking finding was the level of antipathy towards the Republican in Europe. Although he is still largely an unknown quantity outside the US, he alienated many during an ill-fated overseas trip in the summer, particularly in Britain, where he appeared to publicly criticise Olympic planning and the level of enthusiasm for the London games.
Forty-seven percent of UK respondents said a Romney victory would make them feel less favourable towards the US, and only 3% would make them feel more favourable.
That sentiment was mirrored in Germany and France, where only 4% and 5% respectively said that he would make them feel more favourable towards the US. In Germany, 48% said it would make them feel less favourable and in France 38%.
It was not just in Britain that Romney's overseas trip went down badly.
French daily Le Figaro, normally staunch conservative, ran a blog with the headline: 'Is Mitt Romney a loser?' In Poland, he was criticised by the Solidarity movement for being anti-unions.
A negative poll among Europeans can easily be brushed aside by the Romney campaign, as their views are unlikely to have any impact on the election. Indeed, he might even regard the results as helpful since many Americans, at least in public, claim to be disdainful about European views.
One of George Bush's successes in the 2004 campaign was to portray his opponent, John Kerry, as being too French in his tastes and manners. There was also a backlash against France over its opposition towards the Iraq war.
But the findings play into a larger question over Romney's foreign policy credentials. Little is known about his position on these issues, mainly because he has had little to say, espousing only three positions: support for Israel in the event of it bombing Iran; a threat to launch a trade war against China over alleged currency manipulation; and identifying Russia as America's main threat.
Romney's 30-strong team of advisers includes a large number of neo-conservatives from the Bush era, such as former UN ambassador John Bolton, one of the most public advocates of bombing Iran.
The Obama campaign team is seeking to exploit Romney's vulnerability in this area. One of the strongest sections of Obama's otherwise subdued speech to the Democratic convention last week was an attack on his opponent's lack of foreign policy experience.
On Monday, the Obama campaign fielded the former Nato supreme allied commander in Europe, General Wesley Clark, to criticise Romney for failing to include any mention of Afghanistan in his speech at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, a fortnight ago.
The Romney campaign has judged that foreign affairs is not important in a campaign dominated by the country's sluggish economy. But it will come up in at least one of the three presidential debates scheduled for next month.
Between 10-25 August 2012, YouGov questioned 12,693 adults across the US, Britain, Europe, the Middle East & north Africa (Mena), Pakistan and China. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of adult populations in Britain, US, France, Germany and the US. Data in Mena, Pakistan and China is representative of the online population.
Remarks from a friend...don't know if they are his remarks or quoted...nevertheless they're true...
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Still drinking your Kool-Aid.
1475 days ago
Regardless if some Iranians thrived under the shah, we have meddled in that country's politics, cost thousands their lives... from the 50's to 1979. It is true that many of the last generation have a favorable view, but the older people have a less than friendly disposition towards America. If the roles were reversed, we would hate Iran just as much. Only through years of fair interaction between our two countries can we return to peace. Threatening to bomb them is not gonna make it happen.
America loves to make history, but we hate to study it. It's why our government can lie to us, and paint any enemy as a terrorist, or crazy religious nut, who hates us for no reason. Stop and ask yourselves if Iranians are different than us. No? so what do they want out of life? A good education, job, and peace for their family, as all humans do.
The hate there is the same as you here from certain Americans here. Talking about them as evil, till you dehumanize them, and make it seem ok to kill them. Unfortunately, as we are doing that here, what is the opposition doing? You got it! Exactly the same.
Difference is, we send out the army, and keep our rednecks at home, and in the Middle East, they have smaller armies, made for defense, so they keep them at home, and the" rednecks "run loose. Lets not judge 69 M Iranians by the few people who act out their rage, and understand those who protest, because we gave them good reason. Also remember that when they protest America, it isn't a bad thing. We allow protests here, even our own govt, and people burn American flags. For a country that we have wronged for decades, they have been very restrained.
Maybe because our politicians remember what they did, they advocate a strong military, just in case anyone tries anything. I think it is time to advocate strong diplomacy, and that is Obama's path too. Europe agrees with this, and that is why they are unfavorable when Romney is trying to live out the Bush legacy. Ending our two wars is a great start. We used to be loved in the world. We vaccinated India in 6 days, from smallpox.. 600,000 ppl. Can you imagine how much they loved America at that point? Much cheaper than bombs, and when you can afford to cut the military in half, since everybody doesn't hate you, you can even invest those Billions of dollars back into our infastructure, and education, so we can get back to one generation handing a better America to the next.
1477 days ago
Our country needs to wake up..........especially the Baby Boomers who have so much to lose if they don't.
1477 days ago
I don't know all the details Woubbie, I have heard that Iranians like Americans as a rule. I think a lot of this is propaganda. I think there were quite a few Iranians that thrived under the Shah. I just wish that Isreal could figure out a way to exist in that region without always being on the brink of a terrible war.
1477 days ago
I support everyone and the right to express personal opinons on any subject! Whether I agree or disagree. This is your space and your place to do this such thing.
I believe these freedoms are for EVERYONE!
Bravo for you and your rights!
1478 days ago
BTW.........from Sparkpeople "Using your Blog at Sparkpeople.com. Blogging Basics for SparkPeople Members"
-- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader
"According to Merriam-Webster, a blog is "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer."
"A blog is your own personal outlet, where you can voice your opinion, share your ideas, and reflect on the changes you're making."
"Your SparkPeople blog doesn't just have to be about your weight loss or health goals either. You can write or talk about a wide variety of topics that interest you."
AND..........from Community Guidelines....."The SparkPeople Community has millions of members. This means there are many different people with many different opinions about many different issues. If you see something posted that you do not personally agree with, please avoid the post as your first response instead of making a negative comment or reporting it – unless of course, it clearly a violates the Community Guidelines."
1478 days ago
We are on a social network, commenting on Sunshine's personal blog. This blog is not subject to censorship by those that disagree with it's content.
It's one thing to post comments disagreeing with a blog. It's certainly not appropriate to attempt to bully and harass someone into not blogging about personal views.
I think you should report them Sunshine.
1478 days ago
This blog is the perfect place for Sunshine to post her thoughts and concerns.
There is no way to refute what she has written here because she speaks the truth. The objective truth. These polls are not fiction - you want fiction? Go to Team Pinocchio, aka the Republicans and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in particular.
Even the Republicans know that Bush/Cheney ruined U.S. relationships all over the world. Heck, they aren't even poplar with Republicans - note their glaring absence from the Republican convention?
I think that the election of our President is the most important thing for any of us right now. But by all means, if that's not what you want to think about, please, on your blog, write about your most recent recipe.
Go Sunshine! Go Democrats! Go Obama/Biden.
1478 days ago
We have already gone a long way to earn the trust of the world. Luckily the world (except the Arab right now) thinks of Obama much more positively than Romney!
The kingmakers were Rove and Cheney and the Supreme Court unfortunately went with the Repubs! Totally wrong!
This is my blog and I can talk about anything that is dear to my heart! Getting the vote out for Obama is my mission! Join me if you are a woman or you want healthcare for women, old people, the mentally retarded. I don't think of this as political....I think of it as a moral issue! Romney and Ryan are not moral....they lie and lie and lie! They hate the middle class and the poor.
1478 days ago
Why don't you put these on a political thread? They could easily be refuted, but that is not what we are on here to do! I prefer your Sunshine "funnies".
1478 days ago
The best way to avoid terrorism is to stop doing things that make us hated in the first place.
I can guarantee that 99% of Americans don't know, for instance, that the initial cause of the Iranians hating us so passionately was because we orchestrated a coup that eliminated their democratically elected president and put a KING back on the throne. I think I'd be a little pissed too.
We have a long way to go to regain the trust and faith of the world.
1478 days ago
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