The Reputation of the USA & Assorted Other Startling News

June 15, 2006

The Reputation of the USA & Assorted Other Startling News

The Pew Research Center released new survey findings today that show that the reputation of the U.S. continues to decline. The Iraq war is one of the major factors impacting world opinion. The decline in America’s reputation is particularly acute in Spain, India, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey. Imagine this…in Turkey, only 12 percent have a favorable view of the U.S. Could it get any worse?

The survey is conducted in 15 nations and also investigated which international news stories people had heard about. Over 90 percent of people in each country has heard about the Avian flu. That is an astounding figure — nearly everyone! Now compare that high figure to the survey’s other finding that a mere 28 percent of people in Indonesia and 23 percent in India have heard about the Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo prison abuses. And think about this — only 76 percent of U.S. citizens have heard about the prison abuses compared to nearly 90% in Germany, France, Spain and Japan. What is wrong with this picture?

What really startled me was the Pew finding that global warming is not of major concern in the U.S. and China. Only about 20 percent of U.S. and Chinese citizens report that global warming is of great concern to them compared to approximately 66 percent of Japanese and Indian citizens. Considering all the advertising and messaging in the U.S. over gas emissions, carbon footprints and Al Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, global warming is not penetrating the American mindset. The global climate change message is not having the impact that it should. Seems to me that it is time to change direction. What will it take?

Many questions that I do not know the answers to.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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