The Latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey

The survey was conducted in February, so some of the number may already be dated as a result of the attacks in Spain. What have we learned?

In every surveyed country except the US, more people believe that the Iraq War hurt the war against terrorism than believe it helped. And a solid majority in every country except Britain and the US thinks that Bush and Blair lied about Iraqi WMD:

Note that in the U.S., 80% responded either “lied” or “misinformed,” which means that 20% either “don’t know” or still think there are WMD in Iraq.

I’m not sure what this next one means, but it’s interesting:

Apparently, 73% of Americans expected the US military to have a harder time invading Iraq than it did. That seems implausible. Perhaps respondents thought “stronger than expected” was the patriotic answer. To clarify, the reason I would not say that the military was stronger than expected is that I thought before hand that it was exceedingly powerful, so my opinion was confirmed — I’m surprised that only 13% of Americans shared that view. On the other hand, we seem to have impressed Jordanians and Moroccans. Somewhat alarmingly, nearly half of Pakistanis found the US military to be weaker than they expected (that may be the result of general dislike of the US in Pakistan — the Pew survey also found that Osama bin Laden has a 65% favorable rating in Pakistan.)

And, the exciting conlusion: besides Americans nobody likes George W. Bush (61% favorable in the US is the highest approval rating I’ve seen for Bush in quite some time):

The full report has many more interesting charts and facts.

For example, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have unfavorable ratings in the US of 8%, 6%, and 32% respectively. Over a third of US citizens now disapprove of the UN, up from around 20% in 2000.

86% of Jordanians think that suicide bombings by Palestinians against Isreal are “justifiable” and 70% think that bomb attacks against Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. However, I think “Justifiable” is a poor word for this question — if a respondent can imagine a scenario in which a bombing would be justified then bombings are “justifiable,” but that’s not the same thing as saying that the ongoing bombings are justified. “Able to be justified” and “actually justified” are different things (e.g., I can conceive of justifiable killings, but that’s a far cry from a generalized endorsement of killing) and I suspect, or at least hope, that a given actual bombing would have a notably lower approval rating.

Finally, a majority of people in the US, GB, GDR, and FR believe that the Iraqi people will be better off post-Hussein; for Russia, Turkey, Jordan, and Morocco, the number ranges from 25 to 41 percent. In Pakistan, only 8% believe Iraqis will be better off while 61% think they will be worse off.