The Opinions of Mankind

March 25, 2011
Posted by Jay Livingston

Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, wrote of “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.” Ed Koch, when he was mayor of New York, used to ask, “How’m I doing?”

A recent Gallup report, based on surveys in more than 100 countries has an answer: Generally, the Obama bump – the huge boost in favorable views of the US leadership – has held.

(Click on an image for a larger view.)
Yes, in 2007 and 2008, the US Bush-Cheney team was trailing a few points behind the authoritarian bureaucrats running China. Now, thanks to the election of Obama, we’re Number One. (See my post-inauguration post.) (In some countries, positive views of the US administration have slipped in the past year, but they are still well above the Bush era ratings.)

Views of America and Americans are much less volatile than views of our leaders. The country remains by far the country people would most like to move to (Gallup does not show data for previous years, but it’s probably not much different).

I also suspect that views of American people have also been steadily positive, even when our government was greatly disliked. They like us, they really like us. Of course, the Americans that go abroad and become de facto PR agents are not a representative sample of the population. They are probably more affluent. They also are much more likely to come from liberal states (in the map below – found here – “blue” states are white or light gray).

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