In the light of David Cameron’s trip to the US to meet President Barack Obama, a recent survey reveals high approval ratings for the US President amongst a British audience, yet a more curbed enthusiasm for America itself.
Whilst the US remains Britain’s most important ally, public opinion seems to suggest there is no getting around the fact that Britain is the lesser power in the Anglo-American relationship.
Despite a series of recent spats between Britain and America, including the early release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber Al Megrahi and the BP oil spill leak, Barack Obama remains highly popular amongst the British public. 71% of respondents consider Obama to be a good leader.
Yet while the US President may be well-liked, public sentiments towards America are marginally positive, as 52% have ‘favourable’ sentiments towards the US, versus 41% who claim their feelings are ‘not favourable’. Interestingly, Lib Dem supporters are more positive about Obama (86% consider him to be a good leader), but more negative towards the US in general with 47% claiming they are ‘not very favourable’ or ‘not at all favourable’ towards the US.
Moreover, the results of the survey support the notion that Britain is a ‘junior partner’ in the Anglo-American relationship – as David Cameron recently proclaimed in his visit to the US. 84% of respondents believe that Britain has little or no influence on US policies and 66% believe that the US do not consider the interests of Britain.
However 49% of respondents feel it is important for the leaders of the US and Britain to have close, personal friendships and that over time the British and American leaders that had the closest relationships were Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (according to 44% of respondents) and Tony Blair and George Bush Jr. (answered by 22% of respondents). Moreover, a clear majority of 56% believe that the US is Britain’s most important ally. It seems then that Anglo-American relations are still worth cherishing in the minds of the British public.