Indians' popularity with Americans dips from historic highs

Washington, March 15 (IANS) Indians have lost their popularity with the Americans somewhat, with their favourability ratings going down notably over the last one year, but still remaining on the higher end historically, according to a new poll.

Americans' positive perceptions of India fell seven percentage points over the past year to 68 percent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

This follows the unusually high favourability - 75 percent - toward India in 2012, the public opinion firm noted.

The current rating is similar to what Gallup found between 2006 and 2010. The broader trend is one of improving favourability toward India since 2000, when Americans were closely divided in how they viewed it giving it a 47 percent favourable rating.

While Americans' favourable ratings of most countries stayed the same or fell slightly this year, ratings of Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya and Israel also saw notable declines.

Americans' views of Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian Authority are also broadly negative, similar to the balance of views toward Iraq and Libya.

All five have unfavourable ratings of 77 percent or higher and these have been consistently high in recent years. Pakistan's unfavourable rating remains unchanged at 81 percent, with its favourability dipping to 14 percent.

The images of six countries - Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and France - have been solidly positive in recent years, although Americans have rated several of these more negatively at previous times.

Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb 7-10 with a random sample of 1,015 adults across America with a sampling error of 4 percentage points.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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