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New Harris Poll

5 Middle East countries Americans think of as friendly

5 Middle East countries Americans think of as friendly
Image via blogspot.com

Nov 10, 2010

NEW YORK - A new Harris Poll that measures the attitudes of Americans to 13 countries in or near to the Middle East finds that only one, Israel, is widely seen as a close ally (43%). Although most others are not seen as a close ally, Americans have very different attitudes to each of them. Many people see Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as friendly to the U.S. On the other hand, many people see Iran, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan as unfriendly or as enemies.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,084 adults surveyed online between October 11 and 18, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Key findings of this poll include:

More than two in five adults (43%) think of Israel as a close ally. Few people see any of the other twelve countries as close allies. Kuwait ranks second on the list with 13%;
Fully 69% of the public see Israel as either a close ally or a friend. Sizable numbers see five of the countries, Egypt (49%), Kuwait (45%), Turkey (44%), Saudi Arabia (39%), and Jordan (38%) as friendly;
At the other end of the list, a large majority (71%) think of Iran unfriendly and an enemy. No other country comes close, but sizable minorities feel this way about Afghanistan (45%), Iraq (42%), Libya (39%), Syria (34%) and Pakistan (32%);
There have been no large changes in American perceptions of these countries since the Harris Poll first asked these questions in 2006, and in comparable polls since then. However, fewer people now think of several of these countries as close allies or friends than in any of the earlier studies including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But the decline in public perceptions of these countries is generally modest.

So What?

Several conclusions can be drawn from these findings. Public belief that Israel is a friend or ally, while down very slightly from the 2009 survey, remains very strong. Most of the other countries measured are predominately Islamic nations, although it appears American attitudes to Muslim countries are not monolithic or uniform—opinions of different countries vary greatly. However, the modest decline in positive attitudes toward five of the Muslim countries may suggest a slight increase in anti-Islamic feeling among some Americans.

TABLE 1

ATTITUDES OF U.S. ADULTS TOWARD THIRTEEN COUNTRIES

"Thinking of the governments of these countries – do you believe each government is a close ally of the United States, a friend but not a close ally, is not friendly but not an enemy, or is unfriendly and an enemy of the United States?"

Base: U.S. Adults

A close ally/

A friend but

not a close ally

(NET)
A close

ally
A friend

but not a

close ally
Not friendly
but not an
enemy
Unfriendly

and

an enemy

Israel
%
69
43
26
23
8

Egypt
%
49
7
42
44
7

Kuwait
%
45
13
32
38
17

Turkey
%
44
9
35
46
10

Saudi Arabia
%
39
7
32
42
19

Jordan
%
38
6
32
50
12

Iraq
%
23
4
19
36
42

Pakistan
%
21
2
18
47
32

Lebanon
%
20
1
18
56
24

Afghanistan
%
18
2
15
37
45

Syria
%
14
1
13
52
34

Libya
%
14
1
13
47
39

Iran
%
6
1
5
23
71

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 2

COUNTRIES THAT ARE CLOSE ALLIES OR FRIENDS OF U.S. – TREND

"Thinking of the governments of these countries – do you believe each government is a close ally of the United States, a friend but not a close ally, is not friendly but not an enemy, or is unfriendly and an enemy of the United States?"

Summary of those saying "a close ally" or "a friend but not a close ally"

Base: U.S. Adults

August

2006
December
2007
November
2009
October
2010

%
%
%
%

Israel
75
67
74
69

Egypt
45
46
52
49

Kuwait
51
48
49
45

Turkey
45
47
50
44

Saudi Arabia
44
42
43
39

Jordan
43
42
45
38

Iraq
18
19
23
23

Pakistan
n/a
26
27
21

Lebanon
15
18
22
20

Afghanistan
23
23
21
18

Syria
8
14
15
14

Libya
12
15
14
14

Iran
4
4
9
6

n/a = Not asked

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