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Canada, Britain Favored Most in U.S.; Russia, N. Korea Least

Canada, Britain Favored Most in U.S.; Russia, N. Korea Least

Story Highlights

  • Favorability of Canada 88%, Great Britain 86%
  • Russia and North Korea each viewed favorably by 9%
  • Democrats rate Ukraine, Mexico more positively than Republicans do

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans continue to hold Canada and Great Britain in higher regard than all other countries rated in Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey, with close to nine in 10 viewing these U.S. allies favorably. Russia now ties with North Korea as the least favorably reviewed country.

Ten other countries among the 21 rated this year garner majority-level favorable ratings from the American public, including France, Japan and Germany, which at least 80% view “very” or “mostly” favorably. Taiwan, India, Israel, Ukraine and Egypt earn favorable scores ranging from 68% to 77%, while Brazil (64%) and Mexico (59%) are lower.

In addition to Russia and North Korea, seven other countries have mostly negative images, viewed favorably by less than half of Americans. Among them are Cuba (42%), Saudi Arabia (30%) and the Palestinian Authority (26%). The favorability of Iraq, Afghanistan, China and Iran is only in the teens.


These latest data, from the Feb. 1-23 poll, mark the 23rd consecutive year that Gallup has tracked Americans’ views of roughly 20 countries. Fifteen have been included each February since 2001 in Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey, and India and Afghanistan have been included in most of those polls. The others have been asked about less frequently. Readings before 2001 were sporadic but began in 1979.

Americans typically rate countries that have positive relations with the U.S. in a favorable light. Canada and Great Britain consistently rank at the top of the list, while Japan and Germany also get strong ratings annually.

When otherwise highly rated countries have had negative interactions with the U.S., their favorable ratings have reflected it. For instance, opinions of France have generally been quite favorable in the U.S., but amid Americans’ displeasure with France’s unwillingness to back the U.S. invasion of Iraq, its favorability fell to 47% in 2004. Similarly, Egypt’s favorable rating was below 50% from 2011 through 2015 after anti-government protests resulted in the resignation of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Other countries have consistently had low ratings as a result of continued tensions with the U.S. and the international community. North Korea is one such country -- its favorable rating has never been higher than 31% and has not risen above 15% in more than 20 years. Also, Afghanistan and four Middle Eastern nations -- Iran, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia -- have been viewed unfavorably by majorities in all of Gallup's readings this century.

Americans’ Opinions of Several Countries Changed Between 2022 and 2023

Americans’ opinions of China and Russia have been measured since 1979 and 1989, respectively, and while both countries’ favorability has been at the majority level at some point in the past, each is currently at its record-lowest point. The two countries continue to be viewed as the United States’ greatest enemies.

Amid tensions with China, solid majorities of Americans believe both its military and economic powers are critical threats to the U.S. Opinions of China, which were already low, fell another five percentage points between 2022 and 2023.

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, both the war and Russia’s military power are viewed as critical threats by majorities of Americans, and opinions of Russia have worsened by six points since last year, while Ukraine’s favorable rating has risen by the same amount to a new high.

Several other countries saw changes in their favorable ratings:

  • As controversy about migrants entering the U.S. illegally at its Southern border continues, Americans’ opinions of Mexico have slipped four points.
  • India’s favorability fell seven points from its all-time high rating in 2022, likely due, at least in part, to the country’s decision not to condemn Russia for its war with Ukraine. Americans’ rating of India this year is their worst since 2013.
  • Egypt edged up four points in favorability to the highest Gallup has measured for it to date.

Partisans’ Opinions of 15 Countries Differ Significantly

Partisans hold similar views of six countries: Brazil, Egypt, Taiwan, Japan, India and North Korea, while they diverge on the remaining 15.

Favorable ratings of four countries are significantly higher among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents than among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. These include Israel (rated 23 points higher by Republicans), Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and Russia (each rated between four and nine points higher).

At the same time, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are significantly more likely than Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to view 11 countries favorably: Mexico, Ukraine, the Palestinian Authority, Canada, Cuba, France, China, Iran, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. The party gaps on Mexico, Ukraine and the Palestinian Authority range from 22 to 24 points.


Bottom Line

At a time when the United States is facing numerous challenges abroad, Americans continue to rate close U.S. allies Canada, Great Britain, France, Japan and Germany the most favorably. At the other end of the spectrum, North Korea, which frequently receives the worst ratings, is joined this year by Russia as the latter’s favorability has plunged to a new low. China, too, has fallen further out of favor with the American public, and is now in line with ratings for Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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