Utne's Rough Guide to International Opinion

45,000 people from 46 countries were surveyed this year, here's what they said

| October 11, 2007

The Pew Global Attitudes Project gauges world opinion by polling 45,000 people across the globe. The report always makes headlines with its findings on weighty matters like immigration and anti-Americanism. This year's big story is that the world seems conflicted about globalization. But what else are countries saying behind each other's backs? Here are some choice findings from the 2007 report.

Biggest blowhards? The Italians. Nearly seven out of ten Italians say that their culture is better than any other. A little more than half of Americans said the same about these United States. The least proud people were the Swedes: Only 21 percent of Swedes thought that ABBA and Ingmar Bergman had assured their country's cultural dominance.

Forty-six out of 47 populations say that their country's traditional cultures should be protected from foreign influence. Only the Swedes didn't care about the decline in their culture. Maybe Sweden just suffers from low cultural self-esteem.

Majorities in all counties surveyed believed that the environment should be protected even at the expense of the economy. Well, everybody but Indonesia, whose rainforests have been plagued in recent years by illegal loggers.

Weakest supporter of democracy? The Russians, who would rather have a strong leader than the rule of law and accountable heads of state.

Pretty much everybody in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa say that women should choose their own husbands. Not so in many Arab countries, such as Jordan and Egypt, where majorities believe that women's families should have their say in marriages. In Pakistan a majority of people thought that a family should have the final say in who a woman marries.

Less religious countries tend to be more economically developed than religious ones. The two big exceptions? Kuwait and the United States.

Go there >> Pew Global Attitudes Project

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