Poll shows US tumbling in world’s regard under Trump – Washington Post
BERLIN — President Trump has alarmed citizens of the nation’s closest allies and others worldwide, diminishing the standing of the United States in their eyes, according to a wide-ranging international study released Monday.
But in the survey of 37 countries, Russia is a bright spot for Trump. As beleaguered as the president is at home, a majority of Russians say they have confidence in him. And Russians’ attitudes toward the United States have improved since Trump took office.
Elsewhere, though, and with remarkable speed, Trump’s presidency has taken a toll on the United States’ image abroad.
The international survey by the Pew Research Center found that favorable ratings of the United States have decreased from 64 percent of people across all countries surveyed at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency to 49 percent this spring. The new figures are similar to those toward the end of the George W. Bush administration.
The president himself has fared even worse: A median 22 percent are confident that Trump will do the right thing in global affairs, down from 64 percent who had confidence in Obama.
From Chile to Italy, from Sweden to Japan, majorities consider the president arrogant, intolerant, unqualified and dangerous. On the flip side, most view him as a strong leader. And many expect their country’s relationship with the United States to withstand his presidency.
It is perhaps unsurprising that a man who campaigned on a pledge to put American interests first would generate backlash in other parts of the world. Nor is it surprising that the negative reaction would carry over to opinions about the United States itself. Particularly in Europe, “that’s almost a reflex,” said Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for European affairs.
What is surprising, said Frank G. Wisner, a former diplomat who served under Democrats and Republicans, is the degree to which Trump has scorned principles the United States has not only long espoused but also helped to define in the previous century. These include democratic governance, free markets, collective security, human rights and the rule of law — commitments that together, Wisner said, delineate the liberal international order.
“America’s image has taken hits in recent years, from the decision to invade Iraq to the events of 2007 and 2008, when the American financial model took a huge hit,” he said. “But the most consequential is the ascent of Mr. Trump to the Oval Office.”
Global popular opinion matters, Wisner said, in part because it defines how foreign leaders engage with American interests.
The depths of disapproval registered abroad suggest that Trump has undone the progress Obama made in burnishing the American brand. It took Bush eight years, and the quagmire in Iraq, to notch such dismal ratings overseas, according to Pew. It has taken Trump six months.
His unpopularity is the result of a mix of disagreement with his signature policy objectives, such as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and distaste for his character, according to Pew’s analysis of poll results.
Among other world leaders studied by Pew, German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives relatively high marks. The share of people who report little or no confidence in her, a median of 31 percent across 37 countries, is less than half that for Trump, at 74 percent. The survey found that 59 percent lack confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin and 53 percent in Chinese President Xi Jinping.