Tue, Dec 14, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World views Bush, US more negatively

PERSISTENT DOUBTS In an AP poll, Bush got strongly negative ratings in Europe and Australia, with most increasingly expressing dislike for the US public as well


US President George W. Bush's re-election was viewed negatively by a majority of people in several European countries -- including those in Britain, the US' strongest ally in the war in Iraq, Associated Press polling found.

The president was not the only one viewed unfavorably. Americans generally were seen in an unfavorable light by many in France, Germany and Spain, countries not supportive of US Iraq policies.

Bush pledged soon after his victory Nov. 2 that he would work to "deepen our trans-Atlantic ties with the nations of Europe." He plans a trip to Europe in February.

The president, and Americans generally, have plenty of work to do to win over Europeans, according to international AP-Ipsos polls.

Polling in the US as well as Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain was done for the AP by Ipsos, an international polling company.

As reflected by his re-election, a majority in the US viewed Bush favorably. Just over half in this country said they were hopeful and were not disappointed after Bush's re-election.

At least seven in 10 in France, Germany and Spain say they have an unfavorable view of Bush. Just over half of the French and Germans says they have an unfavorable view of Americans in general and about half of Spaniards felt that way.

Especially inclined to have an unfavorable opinion of Bush in those countries were people between ages 18 and 24. A majority of all respondents in France, Germany and Spain said they were disappointed that Bush won a second four-year term, defeating Senator John Kerry.

The rift with longtime allies France and Germany is the most serious in years, and relations with Spain are particularly frosty after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq last April.

"Contrary to what usually happens just after a victory, George W. Bush's re-election hasn't improved his image in European public opinion," said Gilles Corman, director of public affairs for Ipsos-Inra in Belgium.

The polls suggest an increasing lack of understanding about Americans in Europe, rather than a surge of anti-Americanism, said Corman, who studies public opinion trends in Europe.

"The predominant feelings about Bush's re-election in the European countries are disappointment and surprise more than anger," he said, noting anger about Bush's re-election was higher in Spain.

"Above all, they appear to be worried about the consequences of this election," Corman said.

Polling found that Bush is viewed favorably by a majority of people in the US. But that is not the case in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

A majority of people in Britain, the US' strongest ally in the Iraq war, have an unfavorable view of Bush. Six in 10 Britons said they were disappointed that Bush was re-elected.

In Canada, about the same number of Canadians said they were disappointed with Bush's re-election. Bush was asked last month during a trip to Canada about various polls that show Canadians and Americans drifting apart.

"We just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to ... stay in place for four more years," Bush said.

While just over half of the people in France, Germany and Spain had an unfavorable view of Americans, a solid majority in Australia (69 percent), Britain (60 percent), Canada (80 percent) and Italy (56 percent) say they have a favorable view of Americans.

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