Nearly nine in 10 Americans have an unfavorable view of Iran, making it the worst rated country out of 22 asked about, a Gallup World Affairs survey has found.
Seven other countries — Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Pakistan, and North Korea — also received unfavorable ratings of 70% or more. Eighty percent or more of Americans have favorable images of Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan.
These ratings were included in Gallup's World Affairs survey conducted Feb. 7-10, and provide a unique window into Americans' top-of-mind reactions toward a number of countries that are frequently in the news. Many of these reactions are negative: Americans give 15 out of the 22 countries a more unfavorable than favorable rating.
Israel is "above water" — although it is not at the top of the list, it engender attitudes from Americans that are much more favorable than unfavorable, the survey found.
Despite its status as a strong U.S. ally, Israel is not in the top group of countries. Israel and the Palestinian Authority comprise one of the few country pairs that are significantly correlated in a negative direction, meaning that Americans who rate one favorably tend to rate the other unfavorably.
The eight countries with the most negative ratings all currently are, or over the past decade were, involved in wars, disputes, or turmoil — in a number of instances, in ways that are overtly hostile to the U.S. The currently "hostile" category includes Iran and North Korea. Libya was overtly hostile toward the U.S. under the government of Moammar Gadhafi, and more recently was the country in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. The U.S. actively invaded two of the countries in this bottom tier — Iraq and Afghanistan — in efforts to overthrow their governments or controlling factions. Syria is in the middle of major domestic turmoil at this time. The U.S.-Pakistani relationship is beset with rockiness despite the strained cooperation between the two on military matters. And continuing Gallup research has shown that Americans strongly favor Israel's side of the enduring conflict between that country and the Palestinian Authority, helping explain why the latter is in this bottom group.