Trump remains unpopular around the world, but not among the political right: Pew survey

Most respondents in 33 countries surveyed said they do not have confidence in US President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.
Most respondents in 33 countries surveyed said they do not have confidence in US President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - United States President Donald Trump is viewed more negatively than Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping by people around the world, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

Most respondents in 33 countries surveyed said they do not have confidence in Mr Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, and strongly disapprove of his administration's tariffs on imports and withdrawal from international climate change agreements.

This lack of confidence in Mr Trump’s leadership also corresponded with the world viewing the US in a less positive light than before, although 54 per cent still held generally favourable attitudes towards America. At the end of the Obama presidency, that approval rating had been 64 per cent.

These were some of the findings from a Pew Research Center survey of nearly 37,000 people in 33 countries from May to October last year - before the US drone strike that killed Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani last Friday (Jan 3). The Washington-based think tank has tracked global attitudes towards the US since 2002.

"In nearly all nations where trends are available, Trump receives lower ratings than his predecessor, Barack Obama… International confidence in the US president plummeted after Trump's inauguration, while favourable ratings for the United States also declined," said the Pew report published on Wednesday (Jan 9).

Mr Trump was more popular among people on the political right, with confidence in his leadership and support for his policies increasing in several countries and among right-wing voters.

For instance, supporters of right-wing parties in Europe - from UKIP in Britain to the National Rally party in France - were more likely to approve of Mr Trump's wall along the US-Mexico border. They also showed more approval for his tariffs, despite the overall global opinion of the wall and trade war being sharply negative, the survey found.

"Those on the right are much more likely than those on the left to trust Trump's handling of international affairs," said the report.

Mr Trump also had distinct pockets of support around the world - the majority in the Philippines, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and India viewed him favourably.

But by and large, there was little trust in how Mr Trump handled international affairs. Nearly two-thirds - 64 per cent - of respondents around the world said they had no confidence in the US president, while 29 per cent said they did.

In contrast to Mr Trump's strong approval ratings among his Republican base, there was little support around the world for his key policies. For instance, 68 per cent disapproved of his tariffs, 66 per cent frowned upon America's withdrawal from climate change agreements under his watch, and 60 per cent disliked the US-Mexico border wall.

 

Out of Mr Trump's major foreign policies, his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received the strongest approval rating of 41 per cent from people around the world.

Respondents were also asked about their views of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Putin and Mr Xi, in addition to Mr Trump.

While Mr Trump ranked the lowest among the four leaders in a confidence poll - 64 per cent said they had no confidence in him - the Russian and Chinese leaders were not too far behind at 57 and 43 per cent respectively.