Public Enemy No. 1
February 22, 2012 by Sam Rolley
What country do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy? If you think like a majority of Americans, you likely picked Iran.
In a recent Gallup poll a random sample of 1,029 adults in the United States were asked the open-ended question: What one country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy today?
The majority of respondents, 32 percent, picked Iran — followed by China at 23 percent, North Korea at 10 percent, Afghanistan at 7 percent, Iraq at 5 percent, and Russia and Pakistan both at 2 percent. One percent of respondents said the United States was its own worst enemy.
Americans most frequently mentioned Iraq as the United States’ greatest enemy in 2001 and in 2005, when it tied North Korea. Iran has topped the list in each of the five surveys since. In the most recent survey, China was mentioned as an enemy more often than any other time, likely because of its growing global economic influence.
Gallup attributes Americans’ growing distaste for Iran to its public announcements of its nuclear capabilities, belligerence against the United States and Israel, and threats to disrupt the flow of oil in the Mideast.