Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good or Bad? (Part 2)

According to the poll [PDF, page 80] by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, Fidel Castro is viewed in South America (including Mexico) as having been BAD for Cuba with an average of 41%, and GOOD for Cuba with an average of 32% (margin of error 3%). But, looking closer, there's a very interesting picture.

Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Peru have very similar and mixed attitudes about Fidel Castro's Cuba (with an average GOOD of 40%, and BAD of 31%), in comparison to Mexico and Venezuela's very negative view of Fidel Castro's affect on Cuba (with an average GOOD of 22%, and BAD of 58%).

Also very interesting is the mixed view from Canada (44% Good) in comparison to the United States (66% Bad). There's definitely much to interpret into these results, but the obvious difference in foreign policy between Canada and the US clearly weighs into how public perceptions of Cuba have been influenced (positively or negatively). It should also be noted that the survey samples from Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela are more skewed to urban centers. The most skewed is Bolivia, where the poll reflects a 92% urban population, instead of the accurate 64% currently living in urban centers. Another point to consider is the fact that many respondents chose not to give an answer.

The poll shows [data table] that in some countries almost 20% of respondents "didn't know" or "refused" to give an answer. Argentina and Peru had 19% who gave no response, and the US and Brazil had the next highest with 17% and 16% respectively. Again, we can make many interpretations about this particular data, but, according to other previous responses, many people surveyed may be refusing to answer just because they feel uninformed about the particular issue.

The other question asked was: "Do you think conditions will improve, worsen, or not change much, when Fidel Castro dies?"

The average responses from the South American countries surveyed (including Mexico) showed 32% improve, 18% worsen, and 33% not change much. The four nations (Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru) that had mixed views about Fidel Castro's Cuba showed similar averages, while Mexico and Venezuela, who saw Fidel as mostly BAD for Cuba, showed 39% improve, 19% worsen, and 32% not change much. The US, also with a very negative view of Fidel Castro, showed 40% believing that improvements lay ahead after Fidel kicks the bucket, with 39% of Canadians believing things in Cuba won't change much.

There are so many other interesting and important findings in the Pew Global Attitudes Project poll, that I encourage readers to take the time to read the full report [PDF]. In my opinion, other important (and sometimes contradictory) findings were related to the rising positive outlook in South America, despite the many detailed concerns about living conditions, crime and economic dissatisfactions, and the alarming negative view of the US as a regional threat.

FIVE out of the SEVEN surveyed nations south of the US saw the United States as the greatest threat in the region. Bachelet's Chile doesn't view the US as a threat at all, but Garcia's Peru sees the US as the SECOND greatest threat (20%) after Chile (53%).

[Part 1]

No comments: