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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 01:27 PM ET, 05/19/2011

Poll Watchers: Americans have strongly negative view of Pakistan

A vast majority of Americans say Pakistan is not a strong ally in the war on terrorism and want to cut funding there, according to a new Fox News poll. Other polling shows views among the Pakistani public of the United States and its actions are just as negative.

That’s a tough place to be for diplomats as both sides navigate the war in Afghanistan and the global campaign against terrorism.

U.S. views of Pakistan: Nearly three-quarters of registered voters (74 percent) think Pakistan is not a strong ally of the United States, according to a new poll from Fox News. Just as many think the U.S. should cut off foreign aid to Pakistan until it provides “a deeper commitment to rooting out and capturing terrorists.” There is widespread partisan agreement on both these points.

In immediate reactions from a Post-Pew poll, by a wide 34 to 8 percent margin, people said that the government of Pakistan mostly hurt rather than helped in efforts to find bin Laden. A slim majority expressed no opinion on the matter.

By a lopsided 77 to 17 percent in the Fox poll, more people say that killing bin Laden was the best outcome of the recent mission, rather than having him captured and brought to trial. A Gallup poll immediately after the mission showed 60 to 33 percent for killing versus capturing bin Laden – but made no reference to bringing him to trial. President Obama’s gained a significant boost in overall approval in the Fox poll, up to 55 percent from 47 percent last month.

Pakistan’s views of U.S.: Reactions from Pakistan to the operation are quite different. Only 10 percent approve and 64 percent disapprove of the U.S. military action in their country that killed bin Laden, according to a Gallup poll taken there the week following the operation. That compares with 93 percent approval among American’s surveyed by Gallup the day after the operation.

Unlike U.S. reaction in both the Fox and Gallup polls, 41 percent of Pakistanis say bin Laden should have been captured, not killed. Only 8 percent think he should have been killed. (The rest were either unaware of the event or said he should neither been captured or killed.)

The secretive nature of the operation rankled the Pakistan public; among those aware of the events, 85 percent disapprove of the fact that it occurred without the knowledge of their government.

Pakistan’s views of the United States have been quite low for a long time and President Obama faces very low ratings there.

A series of polls in the Muslim world taken in March and April before the bin Laden incident was released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project on Tuesday. Just 11 percent hold a favorable view of the United States and a similar 10 percent report a lot or some confidence in Obama. Those are some of the lowest ratings of any of the seven countries surveyed.

Moreover, a 47 percent plurality in Pakistan sympathizes more with Islamic fundamentalists than with those who disagree with them. That’s the highest level of sympathy among all the countries tested.

Note: Both the Gallup and Pew polls in Pakistan excluded certain provinces in the Northwest region of the country for security reasons. This accounts for non-coverage of up to 15 percent of the adult population in the Pew poll and 4 percent in the Gallup poll.

By  |  01:27 PM ET, 05/19/2011

Categories:  Afghanistan, International polls

 
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