Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan Top the List of Countries in or Near the Middle East that Americans Think of as Friendly

NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 10, 2010 – 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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 11 to 18, 2010 among 3,084 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J38848

Q870

The Harris Poll ® #138, November 10, 2010

By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll

 

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com