What’s the most popular country in the world in 2013? Germany! This country is known for its beautiful landscapes, bratwurst, Oktoberfestivities, and economic triumphs, all of which have combined to place it at the forefront of tourism and trading. According to the BBC poll, “26,000 people were surveyed internationally for the poll. They were asked to rate 16 countries and the European Union on whether their influence in the world was ‘mainly positive’ or ‘mainly negative.’” The study was conducted for the BBC by GlobeScan and PIPA. German residents were not able to vote for their country as this would appear biased. The methodologies used for this poll were “face-to-face and telephone interviews with randomly selected people in 25 countries.” One question to consider as we think about the results is how the people were selected. It’s understood that it was a random sampling, but what methods were used in the random selection process? This is important in establishing the psychological accuracy of each country's popularity.
Furthermore, the binary question of "mainly positive" or "mainly negative" influence doesn’t seem like a substantial indication of global influence. According to the Huffington Post, Alastair Newton, political analyst at Japanese investment bank Nomura, states, “There are lots of reasons why Germany is admired. It is a large and important world economy, a world-class manufacturer, and has a chancellor who demonstrates genuine leadership.” China, the United States, and Russia received more negative views since 2012, while the UK, Canada, and France saw their standing improve. Market researcher Peter York told the BBC: “America doesn't seem to have got its mojo back, and people have become disenchanted with the great climbers of the last decade — China and India. People are beginning to realise what lies behind the glossy facade."
Based on this poll, Canadians, Britons, and Americans give significantly lower ratings to the EU, with more Britons rating the EU negatively (47%) than positively (42%). Much of the criticism of this poll has originated from an economic-policy standpoint. According to CNBC, billionaire investor George Soros stated, “The financial problem is that Germany is imposing the wrong policies on the euro zone. Austerity doesn't work.” Perhaps Germany’s economic popularity is not rated accurately, as Europeans blame its policies for their failure to alleviate the economic crisis. It's logical that those least affected by a crisis (in this case, Germans) will rate things more positively, while those who are directly impacted will more readily rate them negatively. This is why it’s important to gather further details on the specific questions of the poll and the random selection process in order to better evaluate the positive and negative aspects of countries on a continental and global level.