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Who Do the British Like?

July 22, 2011

Earlier this week Chatham House put out the results of a survey looking at UK public attitudes to the coalition government’s foreign policy priorities.  It’s a serious job – a public sample of over 2000 plus a sample of 843 opinion formers – that deserves some serious commentary and  I’ll get round to it.

For the moment though who do we like – who needs to work on their image and who doesn’t because we like them so much?

The survey asks respondents which countries they feel particularly favourable or unfavourable towards.  Adding positive and negative responses we get the following:

Inside Europe

Top Bottom
Netherlands +23 Greece -24
Sweden +22 Russia -22
Norway +20 Turkey – 14
Switzerland + 17 Ireland -7
Italy +10 Poland -7

Outside Europe

Top Bottom
Australia +47 Iran -44
New Zealand +47 Pakistan -41
Canada +44 North Korea -41
US +22 Saudi Arabia – 24
Japan +13 Israel -22

More people expressed views about countries which are further away and which presumably they have less direct experience of which suggests that media coverage is a powerful factor in shaping perceptions.  Of course some of these responses are driven by events during the period of the survey, for instance the Euro debt crisis:  lots of British people go to Greece on holiday so you wouldn’t think that they were that negative about it.

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