2005 Pew Global Survey on US Image… not all bad.

The results, of the latest Pew survey are in and I think they speak for themselves. Please check out the link. It’s just one page, and all the pertinent results are in easy to read tables.

(Audio Podcast Available)

I’d like to hear what others have to say about this survey… especially when taking to account the change in attitudes from 2000 until the present.

As far as Canada is concerned… our positive view of Americans is obviously lower than in 2000, but compared to other western nations… we are steady in our support of our Southern friends. Even more so than the UK.

Perhaps the most interesting question posed is on the different “views on Americans”. Of course, Americans give themselves high marks… who wouldn’t give themselves high marks? Except for one category. Greed. 70% of Americans think themselves as greedy… more than anyone else.

The response by Canadians on that topic are particularly interesting because of our unique exposure to unaltered American media. I believe this exposure directly affected Canadians answers to questions on Americans Honesty (42% – lowest western nation), Violence (64% – highest), and Rudeness (53% – highest).

Personally, while I have come across many dumb American tourists asking REALLY dumb questions (like “Where’s the bridge that I took to get on this Island”… uh.. there is no bridge) I think people just become dumb when they’re tourists, including myself, and I don’t have a problem with that. That said… I have never encountered an unfriendly American tourist. EVER. Nor have I ever encountered an unfriendly American in my travels in America. So I’d be interested to know why the “rudeness” score was so high. I wonder if it was simply a backlash aimed at Bush… I’m 90% positive that would be the reasoning behind the Honesty answer as well.

These surveys are always very interesting and provocative. I look forward to hearing your reaction.

2 replies on “2005 Pew Global Survey on US Image… not all bad.”

  1. I think these types of survey results can be confusing because it gets hard to distinguish when we are talking about the US political administration versus the average American citizen. On an individual basis, I personally find that Americans are just like any other citizen of the world; some are rude, some are very polite; some are hardworking, others are lazy. On the other hand, when I hear a representative of the American (Bush) administration, my “rudeness-detector” goes off the scale, and I have a much more negative “view” of the “American image”. So, even though this survey was somewhat divided into US Foreign Policy versus “views on Americans (as people)” sections, respondents and readers of such surveys are often not aware of the shift in focus.
    I really wonder about the “level of religiosity” factor discussed in the introduction. How can anyone state an opinion on whether a nation is too religious or not religious enough? And what do the answers indicate?! That is the most bizarre question I’ve ever seen posed in a survey!
    In summary, though, I think this survey does seem to indicate an accurate slide in popularity in the “image of America”, which is understandable in view of how the American political entity (and some of its citizenry) have reacted in the post 911 world.

  2. Americans are greedy – yup, guilty. We need a lot of lawyers to support our greediness and get us a good deal when we’ve suffered any misfortune through negligence. However, unlike the Euros, we have never been a true colonial power ruling most of the world and taking all the goodies for ourselves such as was seen all during the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Americans are violent – yup, guilty (to a degree). Compared to most Euros, we are violent but compared to many Muslim societies, we are pretty tame (consider honor killings – ugh and suicide bombers). Same as compared to African countries who are busy murdering huge swaths of their population every decade it seems.

    Although we are not perfect, by and large the American character is polite, friendly to strangers, honest, determined, inventive, charitable and family oriented. When I say I’m not concerned that other regions of the planet do not admire or like us, I do not feel that I am arrogant. Rather, I possess as an individual a feeling of confidence in my own competency that does not rely on public accolades for maintenance. I transfer that sense of self-worth to the land of my birth. I and my country are not perfect but I’m confident that we are well intentioned, sensible and fair for the most part. If others don’t see us favorably, that is unfortunate but NOT devastating to our purpose to not only survive but thrive in the world as it exists today and in years to come. No matter how hard one tries, one will NEVER be “liked” by all who know you. In fact envy is a form of flattery.

    No matter what the polls say at the moment, in order to keep the world from blowing itself to smithereens or suffer resulting nuclear fall-out, many of those societies who dislike us now will find a way to cooperate and strengthen alliances with the US in the decades to come. Many allied together to fight communisim for 70 years. We may have to fight terrorists for as long but in the end we and our friends will prevail.

    Unless China becomes a democracy I have no faith that she will ever be a super-power or even much of any power in the long run. (Also, all those aborted baby girls are going to be dreadfully needed to work all the factories they would like to have. Their demographic policy of one baby per family will turn around and bite them before too much longer due to dwindling labor supply -Chinese women provide much of the labor in factories and they are running out of them fast.) But even so, most of the world, unlike you Chris, very definitely does not want China as a super power. I brought that up a few posts back and you scoffed at my concerns. Japan in particular would find that most concerning and probably India as well. They will side with the US in decades to come for that very reason.

    Many who do not wish us well at this juncture will change their tune as time goes on. Just wait and see. 🙂

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