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Germany the most liked country in the world

Published on 08/02/2009

London -- Over the past year, global attitudes towards Russia and China changed for the worse while positive ratings for the US are rising for the first time since 2005, a poll showed this week.

As in previous years, Germany fared best in the poll, with every country viewing it positively, and 61 per cent of people rating it favorably, up from 55 per cent a year ago.

Britain also moved up seven points, with 58 per cent of people rating it as having a positive influence.

Negative views about Russia jumped by eight points to 42 per cent among the 13,000 people questioned in 21 countries. 39 per cent of people had a negative view of China’s role in global affairs.

The survey, conducted by the international pollster GlobeScan and published by the BBC World Service, was taken after the election of American President Barack Obama.

It showed that attitudes towards the US are gradually becoming more favorable, although 43 per cent of those asked still have a negative view of Washington’s impact on world affairs.

However, the US, for the first time since 2005, surpassed Russia in positive ratings, with an average of 40 per cent compared with 35 per cent last year.

The poll, in which GlobeScan cooperated with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland, was carried out in the 10 weeks leading up to February 1.

In the same survey a year ago, in the same countries, people leaned more towards saying China and Russia were having a positive influence on the world, poll analysts said.

"Our poll results suggest that China has much to learn about winning hearts and minds in the world," said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller. "It seems that a successful Olympic Games has not been enough to offset other concerns that people have."

The poll also suggests that substantially more people now have a negative view of Russia’s influence, which was judged negative by 42 per cent and positive by just 30 per cent.

"As for Russia, the more it acts like the old Soviet Union, the less people outside its borders seem to like it," Miller said.

As was the case last year, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea were rated most negatively, the BBC said.

But the US is still rated negatively by 43 per cent of those polled. However, this is an improvement from 47 per cent 2008.

"Though BBC polls have shown that most people around the world are hopeful that Barack Obama will improve US relations with the world, it is clear that his election alone is not enough to turn the tide," said Steven Kull, director of Pipa. "People are still looking to see if there are significant changes in US policies."