Poll Finds US Allies Have Little Trust in Trump

(CN) – A new international survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that while American allies want the U.S. to remain the world’s top superpower, confidence in American global leadership has fallen significantly under the Trump administration.

A six-meter high cartoon baby blimp of U.S. President Donald Trump is flown as a protest against his visit, in Parliament Square in London, England, Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The study paints a picture of a United States whose grip on prestige on the world stage has begun to slip, with confidence in President Donald Trump below 30 percent overall among international survey respondents.

A majority also said the U.S. does not take other countries’ interests into account in foreign policy decisions, despite a fairly positive view of the country as a whole with 50 percent approval.

Additionally, the Pew data suggests China may be rising in international prominence as the United States begins to leave a power vacuum.

The study, released Monday, comes about a month before the two-year anniversary of Trump’s 2016 election.

In the survey of people from 25 nations – including the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia and Russia – more than two-thirds (70 percent) of respondents overall said they had “no confidence” in President Trump.

Those from the United Kingdom, arguably the United States’ closest ally, showed a 28 percent approval rating of Trump, one of the highest among European Union countries included in the survey, aside from Poland at 35 percent.

Among the three Latin and South American countries included in the survey, confidence in President Trump failed to exceed the teens, despite single-digit upticks from Brazil and Mexico in the last two years.

Southeast Asian countries included in the survey presented a sunnier view of the president. Indonesia indicated the lowest approval rating among Asian countries at 28 percent, but South Korea and Japan gave Trump approval ratings of 44 and 30 percent, respectively.

The Philippines is a notable outlier – 78 percent of respondents there approved of President Trump, which could be explained by their own leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, who employs a similar aggressive, unapologetic rhetorical and leadership style.

African nations included in the survey indicated a mixed bag of support for President Trump – Tunisia showed just 17 percent approval, but South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria all approved of the president above the international average. Kenya and Nigeria both indicated majority support for President Trump at 56 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

Trump’s approval ratings in Russia are perhaps the most curious results in the Pew study. When he was elected in 2016, U.S. presidential approval ratings in Russia spiked to 53 percent from just 11 percent at the end of the Obama administration.

But in the last two years, Trump’s approval rating in Russia dropped to 19 percent – eight points below the international average.

While U.S. presidential approval ratings dropped by double-digit increments in most countries during the Trump administration, many have also risen in the last two years, if only by a handful of percentage points. Metrics in Russia did virtually the opposite, which could be explained by approval woes for Russia’s own president, Vladimir Putin.

Polling from July indicated that President Putin’s approval rating fell below 50 percent in Russia, likely due to protests surrounding a possible government push to reduce social welfare programs, including raising the age to begin collecting pensions.

Since the beginning of Trump’s campaign in 2015, he has worked to improve what he viewed as an unnecessarily icy relationship with Russia, and President Putin has largely reciprocated those views in the last two years. Russians may view a problem with Trump as an extension of problems with their own leader, as the two insist on warmer relations and cooperation.

Broadly, respondents from the majority of the countries in the Pew survey indicated that the Trump administration would not take their interests into account in foreign policy negotiations, which correlated with generally low approval ratings.

However, the view of the United States as a monolith outside of its elected leadership was less stark, though it had slipped somewhat, particularly in Mexico and Canada. Both of the United States’ immediate neighbors indicated a slip from majority approval to levels below 40 percent.

Respondents also seemed to indicate that the consequences of the United States’ waning prestige was the rise of China on the world stage. Seventy percent of respondents said that China played a more important role in the world today compared to 10 years ago, while just 31 percent of respondents said the same of the U.S. Though more respondents said that the United States is still the world’s leading economic power, China followed closely behind at 34 percent.

A significant majority of respondents overall (63 percent) said that they would prefer to have the United States as the leading world power instead of China (19 percent). However, such a desire does not correlate with the United States’ current approval ratings.

Ultimately, the data indicates that the world wants the United States to succeed as a nation and global leader, but global survey respondents say the current administration is hindering their collective ability to support the status quo.

Though President Trump has bolstered U.S. relations with countries such as Israel – and for a short period, Russia – he seems to have sacrificed the support of citizens from long-allied nations, particularly in Europe and North America. All the while, China looks poised to take the United States’ place in international political leadership.

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