How the World Views the United States in 2022

The U.S. flag standing in a field.

Nearly 5,000 survey takers were asked detailed questions about the United States, its democracy, and its global influence. (Image: via Unsplash)

As the United States faces multiple international crises; the Eurasia Group Foundation conducted its fourth international survey of nine countries (Mexico, Brazil, Poland, German, Nigeria, Egypt, India, China, and Japan) designed to investigate perceptions of the United States by these politically and geographically diverse peoples. Nearly five thousand survey takers were asked detailed questions about the United States, its democracy, and its global influence via an online survey.

The United States and American democracy continue to be viewed positively

  • In 2022, favorable views of both the United States and American democracy increased, with support for both the country and American democracy registering at 55 percent. This is the highest level of support in the four years of conducting the survey;
  • Most respondents (60 percent) think American democracy sets a positive example for the world and about half (53 percent) believe their system of government should be more like that of the United States;
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 survey respondents think the United States and China compete for influence internationally, with almost three-quarters having a preference for the U.S. as the world’s leading power;
  • Respondents in Brazil, Poland, Nigeria, and India tend to have more favorable views of the U.S. and its democracy compared to respondents in Mexico, Germany, Egypt, China, and Japan, where results skew more neutral and negative;
  • Respondents who are older and more educated tend to view the United States and its democracy more favorably.
The Eurasia Group Foundation conducted its fourth international survey of nine countries (Mexico, Brazil, Poland, German, Nigeria, Egypt, India, China, and Japan) designed to investigate perceptions of the United States in these politically and geographically diverse countries.
The Eurasia Group Foundation conducted its fourth international survey of nine countries (Mexico, Brazil, Poland, German, Nigeria, Egypt, India, China, and Japan) designed to investigate perceptions of the United States in these politically and geographically diverse countries. (Image: Eurasia Group Foundation)

The United States loses esteem in China and is viewed less favorably in countries that are treaty allies

  • In 2019, 44 percent of respondents in China reported liking American democracy. By 2022, that figure had decreased to 32 percent. The percentage of survey participants in China who reported strongly disliking American democracy nearly tripled from 2019 to 2022 (5 percent to 17 percent);
  • Survey responses from countries that are treaty allies of the United States — Brazil, Germany, Poland, and Japan — indicate less favorable opinions of American democracy than results from countries that are not.

Many view the foreign policy decisions by the Biden administration positively

  • More than twice as many respondents — 52 percent vs. 19 percent — think the United States has responded well to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the most frequently selected reason is that the United States avoided a confrontation with Russia;
  • More than half of respondents think the United States’ management of the coronavirus outbreak sets an excellent example for other countries to follow — 52 percent compared to 41 percent in 2021;
  • More than twice as many survey participants — 49 percent vs. 20 percent — support America’s decision last summer to withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan.
Many view the foreign policy decisions by the Biden administration positively.
Many view the foreign policy decisions by the Biden administration positively. (Image: Palinchak via Dreamtime)

Respondents who think American soft power impacted their countries positively

  • Overall, American cultural imports (movies, music, and television) are viewed more positively (65 percent) among survey participants than American security cooperation, whether military-military collaboration (51 percent) or weapons sales (47 percent);
  • Respondents who have visited or lived in the United States, or have family and friends in the country, are more likely to view the United States and its democracy favorably. For example, among Chinese respondents, 53 percent who have visited the U.S. hold favorable views of American democracy compared with 19 percent who have not visited;
  • While a majority of respondents (61 percent) think the United States is responsible for maintaining international stability, nearly half (47 percent) also view the presence of American military bases in their region as a threat to their independence, a figure which reached its highest point in four years;
  • Those surveyed who think U.S. foreign policy should be more restrained are less likely to have favorable views of the U.S. and are more likely to prefer China over the U.S. as a world leader.

What America does at home influences how people view the United States and American democracy abroad

  • When asked what would make American democracy more attractive in their country, the top three responses were: (1) the gap between the incomes of rich and poor people was smaller; (2) more immigrants and refugees were allowed to enter the U.S; and (3) minority groups were treated more fairly.

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