Poll: American Public Opinion Deeply at Odds With Rest of the World

| Tue Dec. 16, 2008 2:24 PM EST

A new poll of more than 21,000 people in 21 countries shows that American impressions of the United States government's behavior in the Middle East differ drastically from the impressions of the rest of the world. A majority of Americans (56 percent) believe that the US "shows respect" to the Muslim world, but just 16 percent of worldwide respondents feel this way. Exactly two-thirds of the world feels the United States acts disrespectfully toward the Islamic world. Roughly half who feel this way believe American disrespect is born out of "ignorance and insensitivity" and half say the disrespect is shown on purpose. Importantly, majorities in Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan believe the United States intentionally tries to humiliate Muslims, with near majorities of Palestinians, Turks, and Jordanians agreeing. (Looks like Karen Hughes didn't accomplish all that much.)

American and worldwide opinion is similarly at odds on the question of America's global military footprint. Seventy percent of Americans believe it is a good idea for US naval forces to be stationed in the Persian Gulf, but just 22 percent of the worldwide public agrees. Huge majorities in Gulf states disagree. Full numbers can be found at worldpublicopinion.org.

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