The world doesn’t like Trump – but the US remains popular, Pew survey shows

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President Donald Trump receives largely negative reviews from members of the public surveyed around the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, but views of the U.S. itself remain mostly favorable.
Across the 33 countries surveyed by the non-partisan Washington-based think tank, a median of 64% said they do not have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, while just 29% expressed confidence in the American leader.

President Donald Trump receives largely negative reviews from people surveyed around the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, but views of the U.S. itself remain mostly favorable.

Across the 32 countries surveyed by the non-partisan Washington-based think tank, a median of 64% said they do not “have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs,” while just 29% expressed confidence in the American leader.

Regions or countries antagonized by Trump’s flagship “America First” approach to trade or foreign policy show a particular distrust of Trump, the “Global Attitudes Survey” found. The survey polled 36,923 people in 32 countries from May 18 to October 2, 2019, showed.

Anti-Trump sentiment is especially common in Western Europe where at least three-in-four people in Germany, Sweden, France, Spain and the Netherlands stating that they lack confidence in Trump. In Mexico too, a country that Trump has previously disparaged, 89% of those surveyed said they do not have confidence in him.

Pew said disapproval is strongest for Trump’s policies of increasing tariffs or fees on imported goods from other countries (68%), withdrawing from international climate change agreements (66%) and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border (60%). Most also disapprove of Trump’s policies to allow fewer immigrants into the U.S. (55%).

A median of 52% also said they disapproved of the U.S.′ withdrawal from the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, an event that took place in 2018 but one that precipitated the heightened tensions with the Islamic Republic that have escalated in the last fortnight.

Trump’s approach to North Korea is the only policy position tested that is viewed favorably on balance, with a median of 41% saying they approve and 36% disapproving.

Pew, which conducts regular public polls, said that in all nations where trends are available Trump receives lower ratings than his predecessor Barack Obama.
‘Pockets of support’

Trump is not universally disliked. The think tank notes that he has pockets of support – including in the Philippines, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and India – where the majority of people surveyed have confidence that the president will do the right thing in world affairs.

About seven-in-ten have confidence in Trump in Israel, where 74% endorsed his decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and 66% back his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. In Ukraine, just under half (46%) rate the U.S. president positively.

The Trump Administration’s foreign policy focus has of course shifted since the Pew survey was conducted in 2019; before revelations about Trump’s now infamous phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has lead to an impeachment inquiry into Trump in the U.S., as well as the U.S.′ current hostilities with Iran.

Pew noted that it has tracked global opinion of the U.S. since 2002 and that over that period, it has seen what it called a “substantial changes in attitudes toward the U.S., especially following the election of a new president.”

“The first occurred when Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush: Favorability ratings of America in Europe and in many other countries soared. The opposite scenario occurred when Donald Trump assumed the duties of president: Favorable opinion of the U.S. plummeted in numerous countries, again particularly in Europe,” Pew noted.
US still popular

Despite the majority of respondents not having confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, people around world maintain a relatively favorable views of the U.S., with 54% holding a favorable view as opposed to 38% with an unfavorable view.

Pew said that some administrative changes could have affected the 2019 results over those from 2018, including the fact that the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation meant that survey’s introductory language placed increased emphasis on the fact that Pew is based in the U.S. and that survey results would be sent to the U.S. for analysis.

This could encourage respondents to answer more favorably when confronted with questions about the U.S. and its president or policies, Pew said.

Pew’s polling regarding public opinion on Trump’s foreign policies was conducted in 33 countries rather than the 32 countries surveyed on their confidence in Trump, as Lithuania was excluded from the latter category due to a processing error.

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