World

Poles, Czechs More Positive Toward U.S. Leadership

by Ian T. Brown

More approving than Europeans overall

This is the second in a two-part series on Russia-Latin American relations. The first part revealed Latin American respondents' attitudes toward Russian leadership against the backdrop of strengthening ties. The second part explores views regarding the increased U.S. visibility in the Czech Republic and Poland.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Some argue that Russia's economic and military presence in Latin America is a tit-for-tat strategy against the United States for its defense policies in neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic. In 2007, one year after the United States initially proposed missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, Gallup found U.S. leadership enjoying relatively high approval ratings in those countries compared with the median European approval rating.

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In Poland, a plurality of respondents did not state an opinion about the United States' leadership. However, among those who did have an opinion, more respondents approved (32%) than disapproved (26%). In the Czech Republic, statistically equal percentages approved and disapproved of U.S. leadership, with 36% expressing no opinion. When compared with the median European approval rating in 2007 (18%), both countries had significantly higher approval ratings. In addition, the overall median European disapproval rating (55%) was much higher than the Polish or Czech figures.

Polish and Czech citizens' views about the leadership of the United States can be examined side by side along Latin Americans' views of Russia's leadership to help gauge the effects of superpowers increasing their visibility in other parts of the world. Despite Russia's increased energy and military involvement in Latin America, Gallup finds that only small percentages of Latin Americans even have an opinion on Russian leadership.

Views Toward Their Own Government

Like many residents in Latin America, Polish and Czech citizens are also critical of their own leaderships. In the Czech Republic, 53% disapproved of their current leadership, while 24% approved. In Poland, 47% disapproved and 30% approved.

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The presidents and prime ministers in Poland and the Czech Republic had assumed office before Gallup polled in each country. However, in November 2007, Poland elected a new prime minister, Donald Tusk. Tusk initially stalled missile defense negotiations, demanding a drastic increase in proposed U.S. military aid. But in August 2008, shortly following the Russia-Georgia conflict, Poland signed a deal with the United States.

Russia-Latin America Relations Against a U.S. Backdrop

Some argue that increased Russian relations are a tit-for-tat strategy against the United States for its defense proposals in Poland and the Czech Republic. The U.S. government spoke out against Russia's use of force in the recent Georgia conflict, and has proposed missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. In 2007, Gallup finds that U.S. leadership enjoyed higher approval ratings in these countries compared with the median European approval rating. While increased Russian visibility in Latin America has to date failed to win hearts and minds there, policies undertaken by the Bush administration may have won (at least in 2007) some popular favor in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 1,000 adults in Poland and the Czech Republic, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/112090/Poles-Czechs-More-Positive-Toward-US-Leadership.aspx
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