Politics

Bush Making Asia Trip With Solid Public Support

Most Americans believe United States viewed favorably in the world

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- As President George W. Bush visits three Asian countries this week, a Gallup poll shows that most Americans approve of the way the president is handling foreign affairs and believe that leaders of other countries around the world have respect for him. Large majorities of Americans also express satisfaction with the position of the United States in the world today, believing that the country is viewed favorably in the eyes of the world.

Bush is scheduled to visit Japan, China and South Korea, countries that receive very different ratings from Americans. The vast majority of Americans view Japan favorably, while only a modest majority feel that way about South Korea. Slightly more Americans express unfavorable than favorable views of China.

The poll, conducted Feb. 4-6, shows that 79% of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling foreign affairs, not much changed from two weeks ago when 83% expressed approval. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, about eight in 10 Americans have expressed approval, compared with just over half of Americans who expressed approval until that time. This pattern is similar to Bush's overall job approval rating, which surged by about 35 points in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Bush Approval on Foreign Affairs

Three in four Americans also believe that the leaders of other countries around the world have respect for Bush, while just 21% disagree. Prior to Sept. 11, Americans were about evenly divided on how much respect leaders of other countries had for Bush, a division that was found during the Clinton presidency as well.

Do you think leaders of other countries around the world have respect for George W. Bush, or do you think they don't have much respect for him?

 

 

Respect
him

Don't have much respect for him

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

George W. Bush

     

2002 Feb 4-6

75

21

4

       

2001 Jul 19-22^

45

47

8

2001 Jun 8-10^

40

46

14

2001 Feb 1-4

49

38

13

       

Bill Clinton Trend

     

2000 May 18-21

44

51

5

1994 Sep 23-25

41

55

5

       

^

Asked of a half sample.



About seven in 10 Americans (71%) say they are satisfied with the position of the United States in the world today, up slightly from the way people felt in the past two years. When this question was asked in the 1960s, during the Cold War and before the Vietnam War became so controversial, about the same number of Americans were dissatisfied as satisfied.

On the whole, would you say that you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the position of the United States in the world today?

 

 


Satisfied


Dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

       

2002 Feb 4-6

71

27

2

       

2001 Feb 1-4

67

30

3

2000 May 18-21

65

33

2

1966 Sep 8-13

44

46

10

1965 Aug 5-10

43

48

8

1962 Jul 18-23

44

45

12



Public attitudes about how favorably the United States is viewed in the eyes of the world have not changed much in the past two years. Today, eight in 10 Americans say their country is viewed favorably, with 20% saying "very" favorably -- not much different from the perceptions Americans had in February of last year and May 2000.

How Do You Think the United States Rates in the Eyes of the World?

Japan, South Korea and China -- Very Different Ratings From Americans

Among the three countries that Bush will visit, Japan is clearly the most favorably rated. Overall, 79% of Americans give that country either a very or mostly favorable rating, while just 16% give an unfavorable rating. South Korea is viewed favorably by a margin of 54% to 33%, while Americans are almost evenly divided on China: 44% favorable to 49% unfavorable.

As the following graph shows, more Americans have rated China unfavorably than favorably for all of the times Gallup has measured the public's reaction, except for two times -- once in 1979, and the other in early 1989. For the past decade, China's favorable rating has fluctuated between 33% and 45%, while its unfavorable rating has fluctuated between 47% and 59%.

Opinion About China

The ratings for Japan have generally been much more favorable than unfavorable, except for a period during the early to mid-1990s, when Japan's strong economic growth was seen as potentially harmful to the United States. During this period, there was great tension between the two countries over the trade barriers in Japan that the United States said made it difficult for American businesses to sell goods in that country. As the U.S. economy strengthened and the Japanese economy weakened, at the same time that the Japanese government reduced some of its trade barriers, tensions between the two countries faded and public favorability of Japan increased.

Opinion About Japan

Gallup has asked Americans to rate South Korea only three times in the past decade, and on each occasion more people have expressed a favorable than an unfavorable opinion.

Opinion About South Korea

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with -- 1,011 -- national adults, aged 18+, conducted Feb. 4-6, 2002. 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. 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.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/5338/Bush-Making-Asia-Trip-Solid-Public-Support.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030