Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pew Research: Only 11% of Pakistanis describe US as a partner

The latest findings from a spring 2010 survey of Pakistan by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project says that concern about extremist threat slips in the country and that America's image remains poor.  The face-to-face interviews were conducted with 2,000 adults in Pakistan from April 13 to 28, 2010.

Quick takes:

  • America's overall image remains negative in Pakistan. Along with Turks and Egyptians, Pakistanis give the U.S. its lowest ratings among the 22 nations included in the spring 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey -- in all three countries, only 17% have a favorable view of the U.S. Roughly six-in-ten (59%) Pakistanis describe the U.S. as an enemy, while just 11% say it is a partner. And President Barack Obama is unpopular -- only 8% of Pakistanis express confidence that he will do the right thing in world affairs, his lowest rating among the 22 nations.
  • Moreover, support for U.S. involvement in the fight against extremists has waned over the last year. Fewer Pakistanis now want the U.S. to provide financial and humanitarian aid to areas where extremist groups operate, or for the U.S. to provide intelligence and logistical support to Pakistani troops fighting extremists, although about half of those surveyed still favor these efforts. There is also little support for U.S. drone strikes against extremist leaders -- those who are aware of these attacks generally say they are not necessary, and overwhelmingly they believe the strikes kill too many civilians.
  • The U.S.-led war in neighboring Afghanistan is widely opposed by Pakistanis. Nearly two-thirds (65%) want U.S. and NATO troops removed as soon as possible. And relatively few Pakistanis believe the situation in Afghanistan could have a serious impact on their country: 25% think it would be bad for Pakistan if the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan and 18% say it would be good; 27% think it would not matter and 30% have no opinion.

It's not all bad, here are some improvements -

  • [D]espite the prevalence of negative opinions about the U.S., most Pakistanis want better relations between the two countries. Nearly two-in-three (64%) say it is important for relations with the U.S. to improve, up from 53% last year.

  • [E]ven though Pakistanis largely reject extremist organizations, they embrace some of the severe laws advocated by such groups. Still, Pakistanis differ sharply with the Taliban and al Qaeda when it comes to a tactic associated with both groups: suicide bombing. Fully 80% of Pakistani Muslims say suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians can never be justified to defend Islam, the highest percentage among the Muslim publics surveyed. As recently as six years ago, only 35% held this view.

But more work for US Mission Pakistan's 22 public diplomacy officers -

There is no consensus among Pakistanis about the size of American assistance to their country -- 23% believe the U.S. provides a lot of financial aid, 22% say it provides a little aid, 10% say hardly any and 16% believe the U.S. gives Pakistan no aid.

Some deep worries about India -

While Pakistanis express serious concerns about the U.S., they also have deep worries about their neighbor and longtime rival India. Indeed, they are more worried about the external threat from India than extremist groups within Pakistan. When asked which is the greatest threat to their country -- India, the Taliban or al Qaeda -- slightly more than half of Pakistanis (53%) choose India, compared with 23% for the Taliban and just 3% for al Qaeda.

However, despite the deep-seated tensions between these two countries, most Pakistanis want better relations with India. Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) say it is important for relations with India to improve and about three-quarters support increased trade with India and further talks between the two rivals.

No surprise here -- still best friend forever (bff) with China

Attitudes toward China remain positive -- 84% consider China a partner to Pakistan.

Read the whole thing here.

Would be interesting to see what the outcome is like if Pew Research conduct another one later this year or in 2011.

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