Poll Finds Sharp Boost in US Global Image Since Biden Took Office

As President Biden meets with world leaders in England, a new survey shows America’s image abroad has rebounded since the Trump presidency came to an end.

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive on Cornwall Airport Newquay in England on Thursday ahead of the G7 summit. (Phil Noble/Pool Photo via AP)

(CN) — An international poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center shows foreigners’ views on America and its leadership have grown much more positive since former President Donald Trump left office.

These findings come after years of low confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in regards to world affairs, as Biden meets with world leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.

Last year, a mere 17% of respondents in 12 foreign countries expressed confidence that Trump would do the right thing. That confidence has sharply risen to a median of 75% since Biden assumed office, according to Thursday’s poll. 

The overall favorability of America on the world stage has risen as well. At the end of the Trump presidency, 63% of international respondents saw the U.S. as unfavorable, with 34% viewing it favorably. That trend has now reversed, with 62% seeing the U.S. favorably and 36% unfavorably.

The nationality of respondents revealed a stark difference in their views of Trump and Biden. The poll shows Trump held a low confidence among the citizens of other developed nations. For example, just 15% of Swedish respondents experienced confidence in Trump’s approach to global affairs, but that number jumped a whopping 70 points to 85% confidence in Biden. In several other countries that were part of the survey, the confidence difference between Trump and Biden averaged 58 points.   

In recent years, the way the U.S. is seen around the world has been correlated to which party holds the White House. During the presidency of George W. Bush, many Western European countries including Germany, France, Spain and United Kingdom had low confidence in the American president, especially near the end of his second term. When Barack Obama assumed office, confidence sharply rose into the 70% to 90% range.

The same pattern is true for the Trump and Biden administrations. When Trump began his term, confidence in the president plummeted among all four major European nations, particularly Germany, France and Spain. Now at the onset of Biden’s term, another sharp rise is being detected again, with residents of all four nations in the range of 70% confidence he will do the right thing when it comes to world affairs.

These stark divides in opinion are driven by people’s personal perception of Biden as a leader. Seventy-seven percent of foreigners surveyed see him as well-qualified to be president and 62% perceive him as a strong leader, whereas 16% thought Trump was qualified and 46% that he was a strong leader.

Pew researchers also asked whether people found either man dangerous or arrogant. Seventy-two percent found Trump dangerous and 90% said he was arrogant. Biden is perceived quite differently, with just 14% seeing him as dangerous and 13% thinking he is arrogant.

While the image of America has rebounded in recent months, many across the globe no longer see the U.S. as a model of democracy. Fifty-seven percent believe that the U.S. “used to be a good example, but has not been in recent years.” Seventeen percent see America as a good example of democracy and 23% believe that America was never a good example.

During his address to congress in April, Biden took on the idea that the U.S. was slipping as a model for democracy. He said that the nation’s adversaries are betting against America, thinking that the county is too divided to continue as a world leader.

“They look at the images of the mob that assaulted the Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy. But they are wrong. You know it, I know it. But we have to prove them wrong,” he said.

Compared to the leaders of China, Germany, France and Russia, respondents express confidence in Biden’s handling of world affairs.

At 74%, Biden ranks in the middle of the pack for confidence among leaders of major Western nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel polled the highest at 77%, and French President Emmanuel Macron at 63%.

By contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping polled at 23% and 20%, respectively.

Over 16,000 adults from 16 different countries participated in this year’s poll. The nations who took part include Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The poll conducted online between March 12 to May 26.

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