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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Bush Not Trustworthy for Many Austrians

September 14, 2007

Out of a list of nine political and public personalities, Austrians express a low level of confidence in United States president George W. Bush, according to a poll by OGM released by APA. 84 per cent of respondents distrust the American head of state.

Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was first on the list of trusted personalities with 62 per cent, followed by German chancellor Angela Merkel with 61 per cent, Austrian-born former actor and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with 60 per cent, and Pope Benedict XVI with 59 per cent.

Conversely, less than a quarter of respondents trust European Commission president Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Bush.

Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s first female head of government in November 2005. She leads a coalition government encompassing her Christian-Democratic Union (CDU), the Bavarian Christian-Social Party (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

In 2000, Bush—a Republican—won the U.S. presidential election garnering 271 electoral votes after winning 30 states, while Democrat Al Gore got 266 electoral votes from 20 states and the District of Columbia. Bush earned a second four-year term in the November 2004 presidential election.

In late August, Austrian foreign minister Ursula Plassnik discussed the U.S. government’s plans to build an anti-missile shield in Central Europe that Russia has deemed a threat to regional security. Plassnik said Austria would not take sides on the matter, declaring, "Austria is not the 51st U.S. state, but also not a branch of Russia."

Polling Data

Do you have trust or distrust the following people?

Trust Distrust
The Dalai Lama 62% 13%
Angela Merkel 61% 26%
Arnold Schwarzenegger 60% 26%
Pope Benedict XVI 59% 26%
Bill Gates 43% 29%
Jose Manuel Durao Barroso 22% 29%
Ban Ki-moon 16% 5%
Vladimir Putin 13% 73%
George W. Bush 6% 84%

Source: OGM / APA Methodology: Telephone interviews with 500 Austrian adults, conducted on Aug. 28, 2007. Margin of error is 4.5 per cent.

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