President Bush’s re-election was viewed negatively by a majority of people in several European countries — including those in Britain, America’s 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 U.S. Iraq policies.
Bush pledged soon after his re-election 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 United States as well as Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain was done for the AP by Ipsos, an international polling company.
Negativity extends to Americans in general
As reflected by his re-election, a majority in the United States 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 said they have an unfavorable view of the U.S. president. Just over half of the French and Germans said 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 Democrat 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.
‘Disappointment and surprise’
“The predominant feelings about Bush’s re-election in the European countries are disappointment and surprise more than anger,” he said, noting that 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 United States. But that is not the case in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
A majority of people in Britain, America’s strongest ally in the Iraq war, have an unfavorable view of Bush. Six in 10 Britons said they were disappointed he was re-elected.
In Canada, about the same number of Canadians said they were disappointed with the re-election. The president 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,” he replied.
While just over half of the people in France, Germany and Spain had an unfavorable view of Americans, but a solid majority in Australia (69 percent), Britain (60 percent), Canada (80 percent) and Italy (56 percent) expressed a favorable opinion.
War allies have brighter view
Australia, Britain and Italy are U.S. allies in the Iraq war. Canada did not send troops to support the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq but did send them to Afghanistan.
“The negative view that Canadians have of George Bush does not extend to Americans in general,” said Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs-North America.
In Australia, seven in 10 surveyed had a favorable view of Americans; four in 10 had a positive impression of Bush. He got favorable reviews from more Australians than from those in any other country polled aside from the United States.
Randall Pearce, general manager of Ipsos Mackay Public Affairs, said Prime Minister John Howard’s public backing of Bush appeared to help the president. A majority of Howard’s supporters had a favorable view of Bush.
The AP-Ipsos polls of about 1,000 adults in each country were taken between Nov. 19-27 and have margins of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.