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Pew poll: Global views on NATO and U.S. rise; for Russia, a decline

Service members aboard a Romanian frigate during a Black Sea exercise June 21. (Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg)

In a time of crisis, the international image of the United States, NATO and Russia has shifted — with views on Russia plunging and views of the United States and NATO remaining positive, even increasing, a Pew study of 18 nations found.

In Poland, the shifts have been dramatic. Views on the United States, European Union and NATO have reached all-time highs — each hovering around 90 percent — since the question was first asked in 2007. And views on Russia dropped from one-third of Poles sharing a favorable view in 2019 to a measly 2 percent in 2022.

Overall, Russia saw a steep decline in its favorability since 2020. All 18 countries surveyed recorded all-time low shares in positive opinions of the nation — even as Russia was already seen in a relatively unfavorable light.

A median of 85 percent across nations saw Russia unfavorably this year. In the United States, positive views of Russia dropped from 15 percent in 2020 to 7 percent this year.

Confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin took a shot too — reaching a two-decade low in the majority of places surveyed. Only a median of 9 percent across nations had confidence in Putin to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

Sixty percent felt the same about President Biden, even as his ratings dropped across most countries over the year.

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Among 11 NATO-member states and Sweden, a median of two-thirds held positive views of the military alliance. Swedish attitudes of NATO have grown incrementally positive over the past six years. In 2016, only 58 percent of Swedes surveyed had favorable views of NATO; the number gradually increased to about 70 percent in 2021. Even over the weeks of surveying in 2022, the numbers grew further — from 77 percent around early March to 84 percent in mid-April.

Views of the United States remained largely positive at about 60 percent, the poll found. But while a median of 79 percent found the United States to be “a reliable partner,” a similar percentage described U.S. partisan conflicts as strong or very strong. In most countries surveyed, views of the United States’ reliability as a partner strengthened over the year — including by 25 percent in South Korea.

In Poland, ratings of the United States are at an all-time high; only 3 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of the nation. That compares to more than 30 percent with unfavorable U.S. views in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, for example.

The Pew Research Center highlighted Poland, which the center said had seen a “dramatic shift in attitudes” since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ninety-four percent of Poles surveyed have “no confidence at all” in Putin and see Russia as a major threat — with the latter up from 65 percent in 2018.

At the same time, Poland, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union’s Eastern Bloc and is now a member of both NATO and the E.U., logged record-high views on the United States, E.U and NATO.

Associate Director of Global Attitudes Research Jacob Poushter told The Washington Post that “Polish attitudes toward foreign affairs are affected by domestic political considerations.”

In general, he said, people who have unfavorable views of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) tend to see the E.U. more favorably, and say the 27-member bloc promotes prosperity and respects Polish values. And the same is true of the converse.

The 2022 Global Attitudes Survey data collection involved nearly 20,000 adults across 18 countries — including Canada, Sweden, Singapore, Israel, Poland and France — between mid-February and mid-May, with data collection in most countries beginning soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States was also surveyed on views of Russia and NATO.