British trust in 'arrogant' US leadership plummets to just 12%

THE leadership of the United States is more unpopular in Britain than ever, a new poll has found.

The YouGov survey found that only 12 per cent of Britons trusted Americans to deal wisely with current world problems - half the number who had faith in the 1975 White House.

The poll found that most Britons saw America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism.

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They also believed it to be crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.

American troops are failing either to win "hearts and minds" in Iraq or bring democracy to that country, according to respondents.

More than two-thirds of those who offered an opinion said America was essentially an imperial power seeking world domination.

And 81 per cent said George Bush, the president, hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of US self-interests.

However, a spokesman for the American Embassy said that the poll's findings contradicted its own surveys.

He said: "We question the judgment of anyone who asserts the world would be a better place with Saddam still terrorising his own nation and threatening people well beyond Iraq's borders.

"With respect to the poll's assertions about American society, we bear some of the blame for not successfully communicating America's extraordinary dynamism."

Of those polled, 42 per cent said the present American government made the world "a somewhat worse place to live" and 23 per cent said it was "much worse".

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Mr Bush's personal ratings were also low, with 44 per cent thinking he was a "terrible leader" and another 34 per cent saying he was "pretty poor".

Hardly anyone - just 9 per cent - thinks he is performing well, even in his own terms, according to the poll for the Daily Telegraph.

• YouGov polled 1,962 adults across Great Britain online between 26 and 28 June.