BBC Poll: World’s Opinion of U.S. Lowest Since Bush Presidency

By Ryan Kierman | June 24, 2013 | 1:47pm EDT


President Barack Obama in Strasbourg, France 2009 (AP photo)

( – Since assuming the presidency,, President Obama has made improving the United State’s image abroad a high priority for his administration.  But the nation’s popularity worldwide is now as low as when President Bush left office in 2009.

In fact, negative views towards the U.S. are so pervasive that the country presently ranks second most unpopular in the world – just ahead of Iran - and less popular than rivals Russia and China.

U.S. popularity declined seven percentage points – from 47 to 40 percent – from last year, according to a poll released last month by the BBC.

Conducted by polling agency GlobalScan, the BBC poll asked 24,000 participants  in 33 countries if they had a “mainly positive” or “mainly negative” view of the influence of various nations queried.

Germany once again ranks as the most popular country in the world. Other countries more-liked than the US: Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Kenya.

According to poll respondents, 40 percent hold a positive view of U.S. influence worldwide, as opposed to 41 percent who have a negative view, which is essentially the same as a previous BBC poll in early 2009,. That poll showed a 40 percent positive/43 percent negative view of the U.S. abroad.

That same year, President Obama delivered speeches in Turkey, France and Trinidad and Tobago denouncing America’s “arrogance” and seeking to boost U.S. popularity around the world – a move widely criticized at the time as Obama’s global “apology tour.”

(AP Photo)

“In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive, Obama said.

Yet, four years later, world opinion on his watch has fallen to levels as low as during President Bush’s last few months in office.

According to the BBC’s annual worldwide popularity poll, which began in 2005, U.S. approval worldwide bottomed out at 30 percent in 2007 before climbing roughly five percentage points each subsequent year to peak at 49 percent positive/31 percent negative in 2011.

However, since then, U.S. popularity worldwide has shown a marked decline, dropping almost ten points in the last two years.

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