June 21st, 2010
06:03 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: US views of Britain take hit in wake of spill

Washington (CNN) - Americans' views of Great Britain have taken a hit in the wake of the massive BP-caused oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday indicates that 28 percent of the public holds a "very favorable" view of Great Britain, down 12 points from last year.

Full results (pdf)

That doesn't mean that Americans dislike Britain - only 13 percent feel that way, up a bit since 2009. Most of the change comes from Americans moving from the "very favorable" category to a "mostly favorable" view.

"Although the company is no longer named 'British Petroleum,' the occasional use of that name - and the British accent of embattled BP chief Tony Hayward - have likely left a lingering impression in the minds of many Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The environmental disaster was sparked by the April 20 explosion and collapse of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

"It's unclear how long it will be before Britain's numbers return to pre-oil spill levels, but there might be a clue in the pattern of U.S. opinions about France in the wake of that country's opposition to the Iraq war," adds Holland. "In 2003, when Americans were calling French fries 'freedom fries,' a majority of the public had an unfavorable view of France, and it was not until 2005 that France's favorable rating climbed back over 50 percent."

The survey also tested U.S. attitudes toward other countries as well. Americans continue to prefer India over Pakistan, with India's favorable rating among the U.S. public nearly three times higher than Pakistan's figure. Two-thirds of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, virtually unchanged since last year despite the violent reaction by Israel last month to a flotilla of boats attempting to reach Gaza.

Opinion of Mexico has changed, with a majority of Americans now holding an unfavorable view of our neighbor to the south. But negative views of Mexico pale in comparison to Iran and North Korea, which are disliked by more than eight in ten Americans.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday, June 16, with 534 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: BP • CNN poll
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Blah blah

    People, the Brits aren't responsible for the spill, a couple people that lost their lives didn't follow protocol. Also, We HAVE regulations in place THAT WEREN'T FOLLOWED.

    Suspending drilling for 6 months isn't only stupid, but not Obama's role in government (the executive branch ENFORCES laws...).

    Also, more than GAS comes from oil–think plastics....

    June 21, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    I guess when the Brits say that the US president is acting unconstitutionally and is a hypocrite, US liberals react to them the way they react to all facts.

    June 21, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. charlie from the North

    My view of Britain took a hit when Tony Blair, who should have known better teamed up with George W to bring us the disaster that has been the Iraq War. I
    I don't hold Britain responsible for BP's lack of safety precautions. After all they have not had a spill where safety has been required. It is up to the host nation to make and enforce regulations on companies and we did not do it.
    Now that this has happened President Obama will be moving to tighten and enforce regulations on drilling and passing a sane energy policy. It will be interesting to see if those carping now that the President "hasn't done enough" will support regulating the industry that cause this disaster. If past is prolog they will mumble something about "nationalizing oil and socialism instead of trying to help. But who knows maybe this will be a wake-up call for Republicans as well.

    June 21, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Most ridiculous poll ever. It's a multinational corporation that has its HQ in Britain. As if the British people have any control over what the elitist people running their corporations do? That's like me trying to tell George Bush or Dick Cheney how to run their Big Oil companies.

    June 21, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Jerry Gulyes

    Its sad that just 20% of all Americans have ever traveled overseas; the myopic world view that non-traveled Americans have is pathetic. I have lived throughout the US, am American and conclude that the majority of Americans are close minded and ignorant.

    June 21, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Rack

    We are all naturally angry with BP and the UK gets thrown in with them but don't think we are high on their Christmas list either. Our fearless leader, Obama started off his relationship with Britian by sending back a bust if Winston Churchill – classy.

    June 21, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Underdog

    Okay. I get it. Republicans are trying to make the oil spill "stick" to Obama the way Democrats made Katrina "inundate" Bush. I would say for most reasonable Americans, neither is fair. Demanding immediate and precise response to unprecedented catastrophies is all about politics. What's the saying? "Fix the problem, not the blame." And for the Republicans, it appears hypocritical for them to be constantly harping on "less government" but then wondering why the government isn't fixing a problem like the oil spill. Should the "free enterprise" that created the problem fix it? Don't get me wrong, I'm a "right wing nut" but all I see these days is a kindergarten full of screaming little brats throwing feces at each other and creating a bigger mess and producing no solutions.

    June 21, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    This is too bad. Actually, it is more our fault than theirs. Our government "regulators" were intimately involved with the whole lousy set-up of this dabgerous well with no response available for failure and Great Britain had nothing to do with it.

    I'm curious how our own regulators escape the brunt of responsibility that was such a key part of their job. I didn't see any of them getting slapped around in front of congress.

    June 21, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Hmmm – Americans mad at BP.

    But they will vote for republicans. The republicans are standing up FOR BP, not the fishermen and the environmental damages done.

    Go figure

    June 21, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. dennis

    Obama is putting one of his Boots on the neck of Arizona, and the other boot on the necks of the working men and women who service the oil & gas exploration of the Gulff of Mexico by shutting down the oil industry. Then he sends out his "muscleman" Rahm Immanuel to besmerch those who stand up for their right to protect their state from borger invasions, and also those have a right to make an honest living providing energy for our vast economy in the Gulf of Mexico. Rahm doesn't miss a chance to demonize people who work in oil and gas, and make out right lies about the oil and gas business. So, it is Obama who is throwing out his thugs and is getting the worse of it, not Great Britian.

    June 21, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Carol Johns

    Are you all as confused over Obama's "leadership" as I am? He orders our allies to obey him and he turns around and throws them under the bus, sometimes the same day (e.g. England, Israel,etc) The same kind of "leadership" is evident with BP, too. And, why do so many Americans go blindly along with this killing of our allies? Does Obama and you truly believe North Korea, Palestine and Iran, etc, will buddy up with the US?

    June 21, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    I don't think any less of the people of Britain. Well maybe just one of them and I wish the State Dept. would revoke his visa. That man and the company he leads have done enough to this country with their "STELLAR SAFETY RECORD". I do not wish to see the retired people suffer in Britain, the US and other countries that depend on dividends from BP. I would suggest they look to other companies to move their investments to. I suspect this is going to be so painful to the stock price of BP in the long run that the company may end up being taken over by another company or they may go into bankruptcy.

    June 21, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. w l jones

    The British did not let contrack to Bp we did...end of story.

    June 21, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Matt

    It's interesting that any hostility should be directed at Great Britain... It would be like getting angry at the USA if McDonalds in Europe had a breakout of salmonella that caused an epidemic. Get angry at the company, not the country. And while we're at it, let's channel some of that misdirected rage where it needs to go- Naysayer, stonewalling, conspiracy theorizing, corrupt, smack talking, GOP.

    June 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. usualone

    That's right, Americans, blame an entire country for the mistake of one. We certainly apparently have a dumbing down in our country. Also, let's not to forget that it was America's lack of regulations that added to the disaster that took place.

    June 21, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. jimmy carter

    England is great, Tony has been our best friend and I don't fault Hayward for taking off Father'Day boat racing or Obama's ball game. The accident happened and accidents happen to us as individuals so why don't we just spend our time, talents and expertise to get the hole plug and then put forth the blame and set up regulation to try and prevent another. The idiots in congress are all trying to be know it all now but where have they been for the past 30 years. I can answer some of that too. They spent most of their time setting themselves up with fat retirements and with medical expenses paid for themselves and family. You remember what
    Obama said about his medical insurance. He would just keep his the way it was and not take what the rest of us have. They are all a bad bunch who deserve nothing and I would bet most of them have never been in the military. VOTERS BRING THEM HOME WITH NO NO PERKS

    June 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |