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Poll: Canada rates 1st among Americans; Iran last

PRINCETON, N.J. — Canada retained its top position as the country viewed most favorably by Americans, while Iran again ranked last in Gallup's annual World Affairs survey according to results released Friday.

Ninety percent of Americans viewed their northern neighbor favorably in Gallup's survey of 20 nations that figure prominently in the news or U.S. foreign policy, according to the survey. Americans had decidedly mixed views toward their southern neighbor, with only 49 percent viewing Mexico favorably at a time its image has suffered from intensifying violence in the drug war.

Iran was seen favorably by only 10 percent of Americans in the poll after a year dominated by headlines over its nuclear program and crackdown on anti-government protesters. North Korea, which is under pressure to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, was next-to-last with only a 14 percent favorability rating.

Gallup found that seven other countries were viewed favorably by a majority of Americans: Britain (87 percent), Germany (80 percent), Japan (77 percent), Israel (67 percent), India (66 percent), France (63 percent) and Egypt (58 percent).

Those nations with the lowest favorability ratings in the poll included: Afghanistan (18 percent), the Palestinian Authority (20 percent), Yemen (21 percent), Iraq (23 percent), Pakistan (23 percent), Cuba (29 percent), and Saudi Arabia (35 percent). Yemen was included for the first time in the survey after the suspect in the Christmas Day bomb attempt against a Detroit-bound airliner was linked to a Yemen-based al-Qaida terrorist group.

Americans had mixed views about China, a growing economic rival, with 42 percent viewing it favorably and 53 percent unfavorably. Russia, which saw its favorability rating in 2009 drop to 40 percent most likely due to its war against Georgia, rebounded in this year's survey to 47 percent.

Most countries' favorability ratings, however, were essentially unchanged during the first year of the Obama administration, Gallup said.

The results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,025 adult Americans, conducted from Feb. 1 to 3. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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