Global perceptions of U.S. improve
The prospect of a new president may be helping favorability ratings.
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Such recent events might suggest that America's image abroad remains in the cellar, where it's been since the US invasion of Iraq.
But a new survey of global opinion points to some modest but striking improvements in international perceptions of the US – with prospects for a change in the White House playing a role.
In particular, the ability of an African-American to rise through a long campaign and put a new face on American leadership appears to have softened the negatives that hardened under President Bush.
"This is the first time there's a little bit of good news about the image of the United States" around the world, says Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, which has been surveying global attitudes about the US since 2002. "This is not a sea change," he adds, but opinions "are not so consistently negative as they have been in the past."
The survey of 24 countries shows that in 10 of them – including China, Russia, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Tanzania – US favorability ratings rose since 2007. In Japan, Mexico, and Nigeria, favorability declined.
Speaking with reporters at a Monitor breakfast Thursday, Mr. Kohut said the latest survey found a high level of interest in the US presidential elections, with a higher percentage of Japanese than Americans (83 to 80 percent) saying they were paying close attention to the US campaign. But interest was also relatively high in countries like Turkey and Egypt.