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Anti-US mood rising among the Swiss

Anti-American sentiment among the Swiss appears to have reached an all-time high, while public support for a US military strike against Iraq is virtually non-existent.

This content was published on February 6, 2003 - 14:47

The results are among key findings of the latest Swiss opinion poll that shows only two per cent of the Swiss population back a war without a UN mandate.

Conducted by the German-language magazine "Die Weltwoche", the poll suggests the Swiss are arguably America's most hostile critics in Europe - outstripping the anti-US mood of even the French and the Germans.

The poll shows most Swiss feel Europe is culturally superior to America, do not support the "Americanisation" of the world and believe a second super-power is needed to act as a counter-weight to Washington.

Some 71 per cent of the 1,000 Swiss who were polled feel the US administration is to blame for the September 11 terror attacks.

The poll was conducted from January 15 to 27 and therefore does not reflect possible opinion shifts triggered by the President Bush's State of the Union address or recent UN weapons inspectors' reports.

Above all, the poll shows that anti-American sentiment pervades Swiss society - regardless of an individual's social status.

The mood is consistent among French-speaking Swiss, German-speaking Swiss, rich, poor, and rural or city dwellers. Older respondents were particularly critical.

European record

A key finding shows that 57 per cent of the Swiss have either a poor or very poor view of Americans.

"This is a European record," the Weltwoche said in its Thursday edition. "The negative picture of America appears to be a new phenomenon. In October 2000 a comprehensive study... showed two out of three Swiss had a good or very good view of America."

The paper concluded that: "Although Switzerland has a meaningless role in the geo-political plans of the US, people in both countries should think about how far they have grown apart."

Isopublic, a respected public research firm, carried out the poll.

swissinfo

Anti-Americanism in Switzerland

57 per cent have a "poor" or "very poor" view of America.

76 per cent disapprove of global Americanisation.

77 per cent believe Europe is (or is "somewhat") culturally superior to America.

56 per cent believe the world needs a second super-power.

40 per cent do not support a war in Iraq "under any circumstances".

71 per cent believe the US administration holds responsibility for Sept 11, 2001.

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