Indians, Chinese happy lot: Survey

Washington, June 14:

Amidst the global economic gloom, people of India and China remain upbeat about national economic conditions, though Indians are less positive than they were a year ago, states a survey.

In contrast, some of the most negative evaluations of economic conditions come from citizens of advanced Western countries, the latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project covering 24,000 people in 24 countries suggests. The survey was conducted between March 17 and April 21, just before the fuel and food crisis gathered speed.

Positive views of the economy have declined sharply over the past year in Great Britain, the US and Spain. France, where most people were already quite negative about the economy, just 19 per cent view the national economy as good down from 30 per cent in 2007.

Majorities in 18 of the 24 countries surveyed say conditions have worsened with 61 per cent rating their national economy as bad compared with 50 per cent in 2007. The proportion of those expressing a positive view of their nation’s economy has declined in 14 of the 22 countries since last year.

People around the world also have a familiar complaint — most think the US is having a considerable influence on their economy. The impact is seen as largely negative on national economies, both large and small, in all parts of the world.

But Indians think otherwise. In fact, India and Nigeria are the only nations surveyed where more than a third of respondents express a positive view of America’s economic influence.

The view that the American economy is hurting their national economies is most prevalent among the publics of Western Europe. About seven-in-ten in Great Britain, Germany (72 per cent each) and France (70 per cent) say that the US economy is having a negative impact on economic conditions in their country. Despite these economic concerns, there is little evidence that the overall image of the US has slipped further as a consequence. On the contrary, positive views of the US have risen sharply in Tanzania (by 19 points) and South Korea (12 points), and by smaller but significant margins in Indonesia, China, India and Poland.

Overall, opinions of the US are most positive in South Korea, Poland, India and in the three African countries surveyed this year — Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa.

However, positive opinions of the US have declined by 11 points in Japan — a traditional US ally — and in neighbouring Mexico (by nine points). The image of the US also remains overwhelmingly negative in most of the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, though no more so than in recent years.