Trump unpopular around the world: Pew survey

President Donald 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.
President Donald 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.PHOTO: REUTERS

Most respondents have no confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs

US President Donald Trump is viewed more negatively than his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping by people around the world, according to a Pew Research Centre report published yesterday.

Most respondents in 33 countries 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 as well as withdrawal from international climate change agreements.

This lack of confidence in Mr Trump's leadership 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 Centre 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.

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.

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 of respondents in the Philippines, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and India viewed him favourably.

Nearly two-thirds - 64 per cent - of respondents around the world said they had no confidence in how Mr Trump handled international affairs, while 29 per cent said they did.

  • 64%

    Percentage of respondents who said they had no confidence in US President Donald Trump.

    54%

    Percentage of respondents who still hold generally favourable attitudes towards the United States.

 

In contrast to Mr Trump's strong approval ratings among his Republican base at home, 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 the US' withdrawal from climate change agreements and 60 per cent disliked the US-Mexico border wall.

Of his major foreign policies, his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got the strongest approval rating of 41 per cent.

Respondents were also asked for their views of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Putin and Mr Xi. Mr Trump ranked the lowest among them in a confidence poll, with 64 per cent saying they had no confidence in him, followed by Mr Putin (57 per cent) and Mr Xi (43 per cent).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2020, with the headline 'Trump unpopular around the world: Pew survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe