Image of the US has plunged under Trump, survey shows

BERLIN - The image of the United States has deteriorated sharply across the globe under President Donald Trump and an overwhelming majority of people in other countries have no confidence in his ability to lead, a survey from the Pew Research Center showed.

Five months into Trump's presidency, the survey spanning 37 nations showed US favourability ratings in the rest of the world slumping to 49 per cent from 64 per cent at the end of Barack Obama's eight years in the White House.

Photo: Reuters

But the falls were far steeper in some of America's closest allies, including US neighbours Mexico and Canada, and European partners like Germany and Spain.

Trump took office in January pledging to put "America First". Since then he has pressed ahead with plans to build a wall along the US border with Mexico, announced he will pull out of the Paris climate accord, and accused countries including Canada, Germany and China of unfair trade practices.

On his first foreign trip as president in early June, Trump received warm welcomes in Saudi Arabia and Israel, but a cool reception from European partners, with whom he clashed over NATO spending, climate and trade.

Just 30 per cent of Mexicans now say they have a favourable view of the United States, down from 66 per cent at the end of the Obama era. In Canada and Germany, favourability ratings slid by 22 points, to 43 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

In many European countries, the ratings were comparable to those seen at the end of the presidency of George W. Bush, whose 2003 invasion of Iraq was deeply unpopular.

"The drop in favourability ratings for the United States is widespread," the Pew report said. "The share of the public with a positive view of the US has plummeted in a diverse set of countries from Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa".


The survey, based on the responses of 40,447 people and conducted between Feb. 16 and May 8 this year, showed even deeper mistrust of Trump himself, with only 22 per cent of those surveyed saying they had confidence he would do the right thing in world affairs, compared to 64 per cent who trusted Obama.

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, with confidence ratings of 27 per cent and 28 per cent respectively, scored higher than Trump. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with a confidence rating of 42 per cent, scored highest among the four leaders in the survey.

The countries with the lowest confidence in Trump were Mexico, at 5 per cent and Spain at 7 per cent. The only two countries where ratings improved compared to Obama were Russia, where confidence in the US president surged to 53 per cent from 11 per cent, and Israel, where it rose 7 points to 56 per cent.

Globally, 75 per cent of respondents described Trump as "arrogant", 65 per cent as "intolerant" and 62 per cent as "dangerous". A majority of 55 per cent also described him as a "strong leader".

The survey showed widespread disapproval of Trump's signature policy proposals, with 76 per cent unhappy with his plan to build the wall on the border with Mexico, 72 per cent against his withdrawal from major trade agreements and 62 per cent opposed to his plans to restrict travel to the US from some majority-Muslim countries.

On the positive side, the survey showed that 58 per cent of respondents had a positive view of Americans in general. And in many regions of the world, a majority or plurality of respondents said they expected relations with the United States to stay roughly the same in spite of Trump.