Swiss have negative view of the US

Sporting a mask of George Bush, a protester mugs for the cameras in Geneva, ahead of the June 2003 G8 summit Keystone

The Swiss are among the harshest critics of the United States, a global survey has revealed.

This content was published on October 27, 2004 - 17:35

They oppose the foreign policy of the Bush administration and the role played by Washington in the war on terror.

The survey released in Switzerland on Tuesday questioned 50,000 people in 60 countries. Data was collected by the Isopublic research institute, in cooperation with Gallup International.

Among Swiss the US had an approval rating of just 13 per cent, well below the average of 28 per cent.

It was also at the bottom of their list of western countries.

By comparison, 40 per cent of Swiss gave a positive approval rating to Japan, Britain and Italy, while France and Germany enjoyed the approval of 50 per cent.

Top of the league was Canada, with a 74 per cent approval rating among Swiss respondents.

World opinion

Asked for their opinion on each of the G8 countries, respondents in the 60 countries ranked the US just above Russia, which came last.

On average, the US garnered a global approval rating of 28 per cent.

“Irrespective of whether Bush or Kerry wins the November presidential elections, the new US president will have to address the poor image most of the world has of the United States,” noted the Gallup website in releasing the findings.

Greek respondents were almost as critical of the US as the Swiss, with only a 16 per cent approval rating. Austria was also unimpressed, with an 18 per cent approval rating.

Around two thirds of Swiss - 61 per cent - said the foreign policies of the Bush administration had a negative impact on their country, while ten per cent saw the influence as positive.

Across all 60 countries, almost half said American interventionism was a threat to their country.

War and environment

Nearly 60 per cent of Swiss were critical of the role of the US in fighting terrorism.

The war on terror was supported by 24 per cent of Swiss, 37 per cent of western Europeans and 41 per cent of all respondents.

Only 14 per cent of Swiss agreed that the US had been an influence for world peace, while 68 per cent thought it had exerted a negative influence.

Swiss disapproval was even more stinging in terms of environmental protection: only seven per cent of Swiss considered the US record adequate, while 79 per cent said it fell short.

On the other hand, 37 per cent of Swiss saw the US playing a positive role as an engine of global economic growth, while 34 per cent disagreed.

On this point, Switzerland reflected the views of the rest of western Europe.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

500 people were interviewed in Switzerland.
Only 13% had a positive image of the United States.
61% thought the politics of George W. Bush had a negative impact on the country.
68% thought the US actions threaten world peace.
79% consider the US has not done enough to protect the environment.

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