The survey, conducted across 11 European countries, shows that this sentiment was strongest among people in Belgium (69 per cent), Switzerland (69 per cent) and the Netherlands (67 per cent), and weakest in Spain (53 per cent), Britain (52 per cent) and Italy (51 per cent). Just seven per cent of people across all countries surveyed feel that President Bush’s policies have made the world safer.
Additional findings from the poll show that 51 per cent of people in Europe feel that the US ‘only acts in its own interests’ and just one in nine (11 per cent) feels that the US has ‘the rest of the world’s best interests at heart’.
These views were most widely supported in Finland, France and Switzerland where more than two-thirds of people believe that the US acts in its own interests (71 per cent in Finland, 66 per cent in France and Switzerland). Just 36 per cent of people in Britain and 35 per cent in Denmark supported this view.
Marita Carballo, Global Head of TNS Polling & Social, commented: “America’s recent actions on the world stage to fight the war on terror have had major repercussions on the perception others hold of America around the world.
“It is evident that the impact of US policy has created strong divisions between itself and its former European allies and the US continues to be seen as a country absorbed in pursuing its own agenda, rather than acting in the interest of others.
“It is important that the US takes heed of public opinion in Europe to foster more positive international relations, or America may be in jeopardy of isolating itself from other major world forces.”
Other key findings include:
• Some 35 per cent of people in Europe feel more negatively towards the United States than they did 12 months ago. Just five per cent said they feel more positively about the US while more than half (55 per cent) are unchanged in their views.
• Of those countries surveyed, more than four out of ten people feel more negatively towards the US in the Netherlands (41 per cent), Spain (42 per cent), Finland (43 per cent) and Switzerland (46 per cent). Just 20 per cent of people in Britain have a more negative perception of the US.
The research was undertaken between 17th September and 7th October 2003 among representative samples of approximately 1,000 adults in each of the following countries:
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