British views of USA

An interesting article in the Daily Telegraph on the results of a YouGov survey on British attitudes to America (Article is at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/03/nyank103.xml, survey results at http://www.yougov.co.uk/archives/pdf/TEL060101010_3.pdf). What it shows is that the complaints about British anti-Americanism don’t hold up. The survey shows considerable positive feeling towards the US and some specific American traits and icons, combined with an overwhelmingly hostile view of George Bush and current US foreign policies. It also reveals that 59% of those polled said their opinion of the US had gone down in recent years.

The results were accompanied by an editorial from the Daily Telegraph that managed to miss the point completely (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/07/03/dl0301.xml). [It also claimed ‘What binds its people together is an ideal encoded in Americas’ DNA’, which if true shows surprising willingness to embrace genetic engineering]. The Telegraph complains that hating America was misanthropic, but Britons don’t hate the US (as the results show). They hate the current US government; it’s the Telegraph that’s out of line, probably even with a substantial percentage of its readers. You can argue that some of the results show old prejudices, such as references to the US as being uncultured and vulgar, but most of the rest seem fairly sensible: the US still comes across as forward looking and American culture is seen as positive overall. It’s also worth noting that 45% of those sampled have been to the US themselves, so they’re not taking ideas purely from the media.

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One thought on “British views of USA

  1. The Telegraph appears to have a simplistic view, that if you hate the US government (as most thinking people do!) then you hate every aspect of American culture.

    Not true. I can’t stand President Bush, but love The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.

    Like

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