Germany Wins a Popularity Poll

People were asked to rate countries on whether their influence in the world was "mainly positive" or "mainly negative"

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German flags on The Reichstag
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It hasn’t won many fans for its reaction to Europe’s financial crisis — but a new poll suggests that Germany is actually more popular than some might suspect.

In the survey conducted by GlobeScan for the BBC, over 26,000 randomly selected people from 25 countries were asked to rate 16 countries and the European Union on whether their influence in the world was “mainly positive” or “mainly negative.” (The 16 countries were: Germany, Canada, the U.K., Japan, France, Brazil, the U.S., China, South Korea, South Africa, India, Russia, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.)

Germany, which knocked Japan off the top spot, got positive reviews from people in Spain, France, Ghana and Australia. But Greece was less impressed — with 52% of people asked saying Germany was a bad influence. That may be due to the fact that many Greeks blame Germany — and the harsh austerity measures it has insisted on as regards the euro crisis — for their country’s economic woes.

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German publication Spiegel Online writes that the results were surprising. But Alastair Newton, a political analyst at Japanese investment bank Nomura told CNBC there are plenty of reasons why people admire Germany. “It is a large and important world economy, a world-class manufacturer and has a Chancellor who demonstrates genuine leadership,” Newton said.

As for the U.S., which was eighth, positive views among its traditional allies, including the U.K. and France, were down from last year’s poll.

(MORE: Greek Gloom Deepens After Loss to Germany in Euro 2012)

The countries at the bottom of the table were perhaps less surprising. Iran, whose burgeoning nuclear program has led to Western fears that it may be moving toward nuclear armament, came last, as it did last year, with only 15% of people saying that it was a positive influence.

Pakistan was second from bottom, just below North Korea, with just 19% of people polled feeling that Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian dictatorship, which recently has been prone to fiery rhetoric and threats against the U.S., has a positive influence on the rest of the world.

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