U.S. reputation at all-time low, even among key allies

Donald Trump pardoned Clint Lorance Editorial credit: Evan El-Amin

Since Donald Trump took office as president the image of the United States has suffered among many of its key allies and partners, new research has found.

A new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates that those with a favourable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

The survey was conducted in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Italy, Canada, Denmark, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Just 41% in the United Kingdom expressed a favourable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey here.

In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003 at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War.

And Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: only 26% rate the U.S. favourably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll. These opinions are in stark contrast to the very favorable assessments Germans had during Barack Obama’s presidency, but roughly on par with views at the end of George W. Bush’s tenure.

Donald Trump’s most negative assessment is in Belgium, where only 9% say they have confidence in the U.S. President to do the right thing in world affairs. His highest rating is in Japan, but even there just one-quarter of Japanese express confidence in Trump.

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Attitudes toward Trump have consistently been much more negative than those toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, especially in Western Europe. In the UK, Spain, France and Germany, ratings for Trump are similar to those received by George W. Bush near the end of his presidency.

Publics surveyed also see Trump more negatively than other world leaders. Among the six leaders included on the survey, Angela Merkel receives the highest marks: a median of 76% across the nations polled have confidence in the German chancellor.

French President Emmanuel Macron also gets largely favorable reviews. Ratings for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are roughly split. And ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are overwhelmingly negative, although not as negative as those for Trump.

In recent months, the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police have led to massive protests both in the U.S. and around the world. These events may have had an impact on how people think about the U.S.

Overwhelming majorities also rate America’s response to coronavirus outbreak as bad. In no country surveyed do more than a fifth think the U.S. has done at least a somewhat good job dealing with the virus, and a median of only 15% across the 13 countries polled consider the country’s handling of the virus to be effective.

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