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Only 21 percent of those polled defined their views of Israel as favorable, and in only three states ~ the U.S., Nigeria and Kenya ~ did a majority of respondents say they had a positive view of Israel. Some 50 percent of Americans that took part in the poll said they had a favorable view of Israel, an increase of 7 percent on the previous year.35 percent of American participants said that they had a negative view of Israel, a decrease of 6 percent on 2011. Those who carried out the survey said that Israel’s ranking in American public opinion is the most stable since the poll was first conducted in 2005.In Nigeria, 54 percent said they had a positive view of Israel ~ an increase of 23 percent on last year’s survey, and in Kenya 45 percent held positive views – an increase of 16 percent on 2011.Israel’s standing in Europe, on the other hand, has taken a turn for the worse. Some 74 percent of Spanish respondents (an increase of 8 percent from last year), 56 percent of French respondents (an increase of 9 percent), 69 percent of Germans and 68 percent of Britons are convinced that Israel has a negative global influence.According to the poll, public opinion of Israel in western countries in general is tough. 65 percent of Australians and 59 percent of Canadians who were polled have a negative view of Israel ~ a 7 percent increase on last year’s survey in both countries.
Positive views of the European Union and European nations have declined sharply over the last year—so much so that Germany has been overtaken by Japan as the world’s most positively viewed major nation, a new 22-country global poll for BBC World Service suggests.The poll also finds that views of China have improved significantly over the last year, in both the developing and industrialized world, and that the country has now overtaken both the EU and the US. Views of the US overall remained similar to 2011 despite large shifts in some regions.The 2012 Country Ratings Poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among 24,090 people around the world, asks respondents to rate whether the influence of each of 16 countries and the EU is “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.”While in past years the EU has generally received quite positive ratings, this year positive views of the EU have dropped eight points on average, from 56 to 48 per cent, across the countries polled in 2011 and 2012. Ratings of other European nations dropped as well, with the UK down six points and France down four.Germany, the most positively regarded nation last year, has seen its positive ratings drop from 60 to 56 per cent. This puts Germany in second place behind Japan, which is now rated most positively—by 58 per cent on average, up two points from last year. Canada (rated positively by 53%) and the UK (by 51%) are the third and fourth most positively viewed countries.Positive views of China rose from 46 to 50 per cent on average. They jumped particularly sharply in the UK (up 19 points), as well as in Australia, Canada, and Germany (all up 18points). These gains follow modest rises between 2010 and 2011. On average, views of the US have hardly changed, with 47 per cent expressing positive views and 33 per cent negative, compared to 48 and 31 per cent in 2010.The most negatively rated countries were, as in previous years, Iran (55% negative), Pakistan (51% negative), and Israel and North Korea (both 50% negative).GlobeScan President Chris Coulter comments: “The turmoil in the EU, long seen as unattractive bastion of political and economic stability, has raised doubts in people’s minds about its continued ability to be a global leader. Hopes are turning to China.”Steven Kull, Director of PIPA, adds: “The fact that views of the EU itself had a sharper downturn than specific EU countries suggests doubts about how the EU is dealing with its collective problems.”A total of 24,090 citizens across 22 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 6, 2011 and February 17, 2012. Polling was conducted for BBC World.