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Americans Rate Canada, Britain, France, Japan Most Favorably

Americans Rate Canada, Britain, France, Japan Most Favorably

Story Highlights

  • Favorable rating of Canada is 87%, Great Britain 86%, France 84%, Japan 82%
  • North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Iraq are rated worst
  • Favorability fell significantly for seven countries this year; none improved

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Canada, Great Britain, France and Japan are rated favorably by more than eight in 10 Americans this year in Gallup's annual World Affairs poll. The survey, which was conducted before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, finds five countries at the other end of the spectrum with favorable ratings under 20%: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia and Iraq.

Bar chart. Americans' ratings of 19 foreign countries as very or mostly favorable. Canada, Great Britain, France and Japan top the list with more than eight in 10 Americans rating them favorably. North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia and Iraq are rated least favorably with less than two in 10 Americans viewing them favorably.

Ten of the 19 countries and territories asked about in the Feb. 1-17 survey receive majority-level favorable ratings from the U.S. public. In addition to the four countries with ratings above 80%, Germany (78%), India (77%), Israel (71%), Egypt (64%), Mexico (63%) and Ukraine (62%) are viewed favorably by majorities.

The ratings of Russia and Ukraine were collected as Russia was building up troops along Ukraine's border and the Biden administration was warning that an attack was imminent. It is likely that ratings of Ukraine would be more positive, and ratings of Russia more negative, if the poll were conducted today.

Meanwhile, along with the five countries at the bottom of the list that have favorable ratings under 20%, four others are rated favorably by less than half -- China (20%), the Palestinian Authority (27%), Saudi Arabia (33%) and Cuba (40%).

Whether Americans view a country favorably or unfavorably typically depends on relations between the U.S. and that country. Gallup has historically found that the U.S. ally nations are viewed positively by Americans, while the countries that have fraught relationships with the U.S. receive negative ratings on balance -- and those ratings have historically been responsive to changes in relations with the U.S. At times in the past, for example, majorities of Americans have had positive opinions of Russia and China and negative opinions of France and Egypt.

Favorable Ratings Mostly Lower or Stable

Except for Ukraine, Gallup has tracked Americans' favorable ratings of these 19 countries over the past two to three decades. None have seen a significant increase in favorability since 2021, but ratings of seven countries have fallen significantly.

  • Afghanistan saw the greatest decline in its favorable rating, down nine percentage points from a year ago -- spanning the U.S. military's chaotic withdrawal from that country last August. The current 12% is its lowest point on record.
  • Russia's favorability dropped seven points to a new low of 15% in the latest (pre-invasion) reading.
  • Americans' opinions of Cuba and Iraq each dipped five points in the past year.
  • Favorable ratings of three U.S. allies -- Germany (down six points), Canada (five points) and Great Britain (five points) -- also edged down; however, their ratings remain robust.

Changes in Americans' Views of Foreign Countries
% Very/Mostly favorable
2021 2022 Change
% % Pct. pts.
Afghanistan 21 12 -9
Russia 22 15 -7
Germany 84 78 -6
Canada 92 87 -5
Great Britain 91 86 -5
Cuba 45 40 -5
Iraq 21 16 -5

After falling precipitously last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, China's 20% rating remains its lowest on record.

While no country has seen a significant increase in favorability since 2021, India's 77% ties its record high from last year.

Partisans' Ratings of 11 Countries Differ Significantly

Partisans hold similar views of eight countries: India, Afghanistan, North Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Great Britain and Russia.

At the same time, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are significantly more likely than Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to view 10 countries favorably: Mexico, the Palestinian Authority, Cuba, France, Canada, China, Germany, Ukraine, Iraq and Iran. Mexico has a 77% favorable rating among Democrats and 49% among Republicans, a 28-point difference. The gap in ratings of the Palestinian Authority is 21 points -- 38% among Democrats and 17% among Republicans.

Just one country -- Israel -- has a higher favorable rating from Republicans than Democrats. Both groups view it positively, but Republicans' rating is 15 points higher, at 80%.

Differences in Partisans' Views of Foreign Countries
% Very/Mostly favorable
Republicans Democrats Difference (Rep-Dem)
% % Pct. pts.
Mexico 49 77 -28
Palestinian Authority 17 38 -21
Cuba 31 49 -18
France 77 93 -16
Canada 80 95 -15
China 13 25 -12
Germany 73 84 -11
Ukraine 58 68 -10
Iraq 12 21 -9
Iran 9 18 -9
Israel 80 65 +15
Countries without significant partisan differences are not shown.

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