U.S. vs. China: Who’s Winning the World Popularity Contest?

A partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation.
July 24 2013 8:30 AM

U.S. vs. China in the International Popularity Contest

International approval ratings for the U.S. and China, mapped.

Global attitudes toward the U.S. are more positive than global attitudes toward China, according to a new Pew Research Center study of 39 countries. In the above map, countries that favor the U.S. are shaded blue and countries that favor China are shaded red. The deeper the shade, the larger the gap in approval ratings. Europeans are more likely to favor the U.S., as are people in Asian countries that feel threatened by China’s growing military power, such as Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Pakistanis, Egyptians, and Russians are more likely to favor China.

Both countries are widely seen as acting unilaterally without considering the interests of other countries. However, seven out of 10 respondents said the U.S. government respects individual freedom, while 36 percent said the same about China.

International approval of the U.S. improved when President Obama took office, but Obama’s approval has declined since his first term, possibly due to his administration’s continued use of drone strikes. In 31 of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of respondents disapproved of the drone strikes.

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