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Survey: North Korea least popular country among Americans

By Allen Cone
Survey: North Korea least popular country among Americans
South Korean soldiers stand guard near the Dorasan Observatory in the Civilian Control area near the demilitarized zone in Paju, South Korea on February 12. In a Gallup survey, Americans gave North Korea the lowest favorability rating of 21 nations. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea has the lowest favorability rating of 21 countries in a survey of Americans by Gallup.

In the survey, 86 percent of the respondents rated the Asian nation as unfavorable -- 58 percent "very unfavorable" and 28 percent "mostly unfavorable." On the other end of the spectrum, 3 percent responded "very favorable" and 8 percent "mostly favorable."

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In 2016, the total favorable score for North Korea was 3 points lower at 8 percent.

North Korea was among five countries with the least favorable rating. The others are Iran (86 percent unfavorable), Syria (78 percent), Afghanistan (80 percent) and Iraq (79 percent). Tied for second with the highest "very unfavorable" rating were Syria and Iran at 39 percent.

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Gallup's World Affairs survey was conducted Feb. 1-5, before the alleged assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, and North Korea's testing of a ballistic missile.

Americans were more favorable toward North Korea in 2000 (26 percent), 2001 (31 percent) and 2002 (23 percent) when George W. Bush was U.S. president. Bush labeled North Korea, Iran and Iraq the "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address and the rating plummeted to 12 percent. Kim came into power in 2011.

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Russia was among the nations with a higher unfavorable rating (70 percent) than favorable (28) as President Donald Trump has expressed stronger support for Russian President Vladimir Putin than his successor.

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At the other end of the favorability rating, Americans give the highest rating to Canada with 92 percent favorable (50 percent "very favorable" and 42 percent "mostly favorable"). Following were Britain (91 percent), Japan (85 percent), France (83 percent) and Germany (82 percent).

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has met with the leaders of Canada, Britain and Japan.

Trump last week met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel ranked eighth on the list with favorability of 81 percent. The Palestinian Authority had a 24 percent score and two other Middle East nations were higher: Egypt (52 percent) and Saudi Arabia (31 percent).

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Since President Barack Obama improved relations with Cuba, the favorability rating improved to 51 percent.

Mexico's favorability rating was in the middle of the pack (64 percent). On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted with a random sample of 1,035 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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