WASHINGTON – International resentment of the United States has spilled over to include bad feelings for the American people, too – at least in three European countries that opposed U.S. policies in Iraq.
People in France, Germany and Spain are more likely to have an unfavorable than favorable view of Americans, Associated Press polling found.
Just over half in France and Germany said they viewed Americans unfavorably. Almost half in Spain felt that way, while a third of Spaniards viewed Americans favorably.
The U.S. rift with longtime allies France and Germany is the most serious in years, and relations with Spain have been particularly frosty since Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq last April.
President George W. Bush pledged soon after his re-election victory on 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.
But the president, and Americans generally, have plenty of work to do to win over Europeans, according to international AP-Ipsos polls.
The polling suggests an increasing lack of European understanding of Americans rather than a surge of anti-Americanism, said Gilles Corman, the director of public affairs for Ipsos-Inra of Belgium. 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.
A majority in each of the four European countries polled, including close U.S. ally Britain, said they were disappointed in the Bush re-election.
‘Above all, they appear to be worried about the consequences of this election,’ Corman said. ‘The predominant feelings about Bush’s re-election in the European countries are disappointment and surprise more than anger.’
Bush’s re-election was greeted with dismay by many in Europe and prompted negative headlines in various newspapers. ‘How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?’ asked the Daily Mirror, a liberal tabloid in Britain that opposed the war in Iraq.
In France, Bush’s re-election drew headlines like the left-leaning Liberation’s ‘L’empire empire,’ a play on words that means ‘The Empire gets worse.’ In Spain, relations with the United States have deteriorated since Zapatero’s Socialist party unexpectedly won the March 14 general election just three days after the Madrid commuter train bombings. The terror attacks turned public opinion against conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch Bush ally. In Australia, Canada, Britain and Italy, people had a negative view of Bush, but a majority in those countries said they viewed Americans favorably.
‘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 Canada, about six in 10 Canadians said they were disappointed with the re-election.