Russia, US Perceptions Hit 4-Year Low – Poll

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russian and US perceptions of each other’s role in the world have deteriorated over the past year, hitting their lowest point since 2009, according to a new survey commissioned by the BBC World Service.

According to the 2013 Country Ratings poll conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA, 23 percent of those surveyed in America have a “mainly positive” view of Russia’s influence in the world, 28 percent have a “neutral” view or did not answer, while 59 percent have a “mainly negative” view.

For the same year, just 17 percent of Russians view the United States’ influence in the world as “mainly positive,” with 30 percent either viewing it as “neutral” or not answering, and 53 percent saying that the US influence globally was “mainly negative.”

This means that, on each side, a higher percentage of respondents have a negative view of the other side than the combined figures for those who have a positive or neutral view. The last time this was observed was in 2009.

The year 2008 was a high point in terms of US views of Russian influence, with 45 percent of respondents classing Russia’s global influence as “mainly positive.”

For Russian views of the US, 2011 was the high point, with 38 percent of respondents classing the United States’ role as “mainly positive.”

The low point – on both sides – came in 2009, when 18 percent of those polled in the US had a positive view of Russia’s global influence, with 64 percent classing it as “mainly negative.”

In 2009, GlobeScan’s chairman Doug Miller explained the results by saying “as for Russia, the more it acts like the old Soviet Union, the less people outside its borders seem to like it.”

The 2009 survey suggested that “Russia’s military action against Georgia and increasing limitations on civil rights may be affecting American and European attitudes, and US and European criticism of Russia may be affecting Russian attitudes.”

That year, just 7 percent of Russian respondents classed the US as having a “mainly positive” influence in the world, while 65 percent deemed it “mainly negative.”

The fieldwork for that research was conducted between November 21, 2008 and February 1, 2009, less than six months after the Russia-Georgia conflict of August 2008, but most polling was carried out before Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe were interrupted in January 2009.

This year’s survey covers a period – December 2012 to April 2013 – that has seen tensions rise between the US and Russia over adoption, missile defense and several spy scandals.

The recent results for Russia and the US are part of longer-term research carried out by the pollster, which has been tracking perceptions of certain countries since 2005. This year, GlobeScan/PIPA asked 26,299 people around the world to rank 16 countries and the EU on whether their global influence is “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.” The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 3 percent to +/- 4.9 percent, 19 times out of 20, GlobeScan/PIPA said.


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