September 16, 2010
• Many fewer Poles than other EU respondents approve of Obama’s handling of international policies.
• Given the choice between accepting a nuclear Iran and taking military action, 64% of Americans and 43% of Europeans favour military action.
• Fewer than 20% of EU and US citizens believe that China plays a positive role internationally.
These are some of the findings in the 10th year’s “Transatlantic Trends” survey of European and American public opinion by the German Marshall Fund (together with Compagnia di San Paolo). Polling was carried out in June in the US, 11 EU Member States (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the UK) and Turkey.
Opinion polls must be read with care, not least because they reflect a position which is a few months old – a long time in today’s world. The full report is on line. This post indicates some key findings and makes a few general points.
• 63% of Europeans agree that being a member of the EU has been good for their own economy
• 78% Europeans approve of Obama’s handling of international policies, but Turkish approval fell from 50% in 2009 to 28%.
• 78% of Europeans and 72% of Americans feel EU leadership in world affairs is desirable. 55% of Europeans think it desirable that the US exercise strong leadership. 90% of Americans and 81% of EU 11 respondents predict that the US is likely to exert strong leadership in five years. 84% and 75% respectively also say that the EU will exert strong leadership. 91% and 68% say that China will exert strong leadership. The figures for India are 74% and 41% respectively.
• 51% of Americans (down 5%) but only 23% (down 9%) of Europeans are optimistic about stabilizing Afghanistan.
• 86% of Americans and 79% of Europeans were concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. 48% of Turks were little concerned.
• Given the choice of accepting Iranian nuclear weapons and taking military action, 64% of Americans and 43% of Europeans, favoured military action. But the British (57%) and Turks (54%) would prefer to live with a nuclear Iran.
• Turkish public support for joining the EU continues to decline – now only 38%, against 73% in 2004.
• 53% of Americans agree that the US has enough common values with China to be able to cooperate internationally, but 63% of Europeans agree that the different values make international cooperation impossible.
• 52% of Americans and 57% of Europeans do not regard China as a military threat, but 48% and 35% do.
• 49% of Europeans and Americans see China as more of an economic threat than an opportunity.
• 52% of Europeans and 67% of Americans feel that relations between Europe and the US on the one hand, and China on the other are mixed. Very few said that relations were bad. 31% EU respondents and and 22% American regard the relations are good.
• The US is showing a much greater interest in India than Europe.
• Missing are questions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
• Missing is public opinion in Russia.
• It would be interesting to compare the opinions of the public and the élite.
• The support for military action, if necessary, against Iran reflects cultural differences, because the feasibility is ignored.
• There is no clear distinction between values and interests. The West shares few common values with China but many common interests.Author : Stanley Crossick