Republicans' Ratings of France up, but Still Lag Democrats'

by Joseph Carroll

Republicans, Democrats rate Germany similarly for first time since 2003

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's annual survey on World Affairs, conducted Feb. 6-9, finds that Republicans and Democrats differ in their views of a number of countries. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to rate Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Taiwan, and Pakistan favorably, and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to rate France favorably. For the first time since the Iraq war began, Republicans and Democrats are now essentially even in their views of Germany. Ratings of France continue to improve among Republicans this year, but are still not back to pre-war levels. Favorable ratings of Iraq and Afghanistan are down among both party groups this year.

Overall Results

Republicans (including independents who lean toward the Republican Party) have significantly more positive views than Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) of a number of countries. The Republican-to-Democrat gap is largest in ratings of Israel (79% vs. 60%), Iraq (30% vs. 13%), Afghanistan (36% vs. 21%), Taiwan (73% vs. 62%), and Pakistan (36% vs. 25%). Republicans also view five other nations more favorably than do Democrats: India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Great Britain, and the Philippines.

Democrats, meanwhile, are substantially more likely than Republicans to favorably rate France (64% vs. 45%).

Republicans and Democrats show little substantive difference in their ratings of 11 other nations measured in the poll -- Russia, Germany, Iran, Egypt, China, Libya, North Korea, Canada, Mexico, the Palestinian Authority, and Cuba.

For the most part, favorability gaps are small enough that majorities of Republicans and Democrats are in agreement in their views of each country. The major exception to this is France: 64% of Democrats view this country favorably, compared with 45% of Republicans.

Favorability of Nations by Party Affiliation
Feb. 6-9, 2006


Republicans
(including leaners)


Democrats
(including leaners)

Gap
(Republicans minus
Democrats)

%

%

Israel

79

60

+19

Iraq

30

13

+17

Afghanistan

36

21

+15

Taiwan

73

62

+11

Pakistan

36

25

+11

India

71

62

+9

Saudi Arabia

36

27

+9

Japan

86

79

+7

Great Britain

92

86

+6

The Philippines

71

65

+6

Russia

61

57

+4

Germany

82

79

+3

Iran

9

6

+3

Egypt

59

59

0

China

44

45

-1

Libya

22

23

-1

North Korea

10

11

-1

Canada

89

92

-3

Mexico

64

67

-3

The Palestinian Authority

9

13

-4

Cuba

19

24

-5

France

45

64

-19

Partisan Views of Nations Changed in 2006

Democrats and Republicans alike downgraded their ratings of Germany and France in 2003, when the countries' leaders opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Germany has recovered its image among both party groups, while France continues to get lower ratings among Republicans.

Germany. Republicans rated Germany more favorably than did Democrats in 2001 and 2002 -- before the run-up to the Iraq war. But, Republicans' ratings of Germany plummeted to 37% about a week before the start of the war in 2003. Germany's favorable ratings also dropped among Democrats at that time, but only to 61%. In 2004 and 2005, ratings of Germany rebounded among both Republicans and Democrats, but Republicans continued to view Germany less favorably than did Democrats in both surveys. In 2006, Republicans and Democrats are essentially even in their views of Germany.

France. Republicans' and Democrats' views of France essentially did not differ in 2001 and 2002. Favorable views of France dropped substantially among both groups in early 2003, as France opposed the impending invasion of Iraq, but much more so among Republicans than Democrats. France's favorable ratings improved among both groups in 2004 and 2005. The latest poll shows no change in Democrats' views of France from last year, but an 11-point increase among Republicans, from 34% to 45%.

Iraq. Few Americans rated Iraq favorably prior to the start of the Iraq war. In 2004, after the invasion by U.S. and British troops and the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's ratings increased among both party groups, with a 23-point increase for Republicans and a 9-point increase for Democrats. Republicans' favorable ratings of Iraq jumped again in 2005, from 28% to 41%, but there was essentially no change in Democrats' views in that period. Ratings of Iraq are down among both groups this year, but more so among Republicans (from 41% to 31%) than among Democrats (from 19% to 13%).

Afghanistan. In 2002 and 2003, Gallup found only slight partisan variations in views of Afghanistan. Favorable ratings of Afghanistan increased among Republicans in 2004, from 26% to 36%, while they remained unchanged among Democrats that year. In 2005, ratings increased among both groups, with nearly half of Republicans rating the country favorably and only about a third of Democrats doing so. Currently, ratings are down among both groups, with 36% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats rating the country favorably.

Iran, North Korea. Last year, a partisan division was evident in ratings of Iran and North Korea. However, the current poll finds no difference in ratings of these two countries among Republicans and Democrats, as was the case from 2001 through 2004.

Partisan Ratings of Iran and North Korea


Republicans
(including leaners)


Democrats
(including leaners)

Gap
(Republicans minus
Democrats)

%

%

Iran

2006 Feb 6-9

9

6

+3

2005 Feb 7-10

7

18

-11

2004 Feb 9-12

18

17

+1

2003 Mar 14-15

12

16

-4

2003 Feb 3-6

12

14

-2

2002 Feb 4-6

9

12

-3

2001 Feb 1-4

10

11

-1

North Korea

2006 Feb 6-9

10

11

-1

2005 Feb 7-10

8

18

-10

2004 Feb 9-12

13

13

0

2003 Mar 14-15

6

9

-3

2003 Feb 3-6

10

13

-3

2002 Feb 4-6

23

21

+2

2001 Feb 1-4

30

34

-4

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,002 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 6-9, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the 455 Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party and 453 Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the maximum margins of sampling error are ±5 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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