updated 3/6/2007 11:05:56 AM ET 2007-03-06T16:05:56

Israel, Iran and the United States were the countries with the most negative image in a globe-spanning survey of attitudes toward 12 major nations. Canada and Japan came out best in the poll, released Tuesday.

The survey for the British Broadcasting Corp.'s World Service asked more than 28,000 people to rate 12 countries — Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the United States and Venezuela — as having a positive or negative influence on the world.

Israel was viewed negatively by 56 percent of respondents and positively by 17 percent; for Iran, the figures were 54 percent and 18 percent. The United States had the third-highest negative ranking, with 51 percent citing it as a bad influence and 30 percent as a good one. Next was North Korea, which was viewed negatively by 48 percent and positively by 19 percent.

Canada had the most positive rating in the survey, with 54 percent viewing it positively and 14 percent negatively. It was followed by Japan and France.

Respondents were also asked their views of the 27-member European Union; 53 percent saw it as positive and 19 percent as negative.

Correlation with military power
Britain, China and India were viewed more positively than negatively, while Russia had more negative than positive responses. Opinion on Venezuela was evenly split.

"It appears that people around the world tend to look negatively on countries whose profile is marked by the pursuit of military power," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, which conducted the research along with pollster GlobeScan.

"Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like France and Japan and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively," he added.

Pollsters questioned about 1,000 people in 27 different countries, including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Australia; as well as four predominantly Muslim countries: Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia; and two countries with large Muslim populations: Lebanon and Nigeria.

The respondents were interviewed in person and over the phone from November to mid-January. The margin of error ranges from 3.1 percent to 4.9 percent, depending on the country.

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