London: Israel and Iran are perceived as having the most negative influence on the world, followed closely by North Korea and the United States, according to a poll to be released Tuesday.
At the other end of the scale, Japan, France, the European Union and Canada are seen as most positive, according to the survey by BBC World Service radio of 28,000 people in 27 countries.
Respondents were given a list of 12 countries and asked if they had a “mostly positive or mostly negative influence in the world.”
The country with the highest negative response was Israel with 56% negative and 17% positive, followed by Iran on 54% negative and 18% positive.
The United States was seen as negative by 51%, with 30% seeing it as positive, followed by isolated Stalinist state North Korea, perceived as negative by 48% of those asked against 19% positive.
“It appears that people around the world tend to look negatively on countries whose profile is marked by the pursuit of military power,” said Steven Kull, head of one of the study’s co-organizers.
“Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like France and Japan and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively,” said Kull, of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the United States’ Maryland University.
The survey was carried out for the BBC World Service by the Maryland researchers and the international polling firm GlobeScan.
Over the three years the BBC has been tracking opinions about countries’ influence in the world, most ratings have remained relatively stable.
There has been improvement in the case of India, a slight decline in views about Britain and a significant fall in positive evaluations of the United States.
Russia, China, and France also lost ground over the period, mainly between 2005 and 2006.
The most positive ratings went to Canada on 54% positive, the EU with 53% and France with 50%. Japan is viewed favourably by 24 countries, France by 25 countries and the EU by 24.
Only three other countries were seen more positively than negatively: Britain with 45% favourable but 28% negative, China with 42% positive and 32% negative and India with 37% favourable, 26% negative.
GlobeScan head Doug Miller noted that India was the only country that had significantly improved its global stature in the past year, and was now even with China.
“Britain, while slipping a bit since 2005, appears to be avoiding the steep decline that its war partner, the US, is suffering,” he added.