US global image sinks to all-time low

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 | | International

The global image of the United States around the world has sunk to a historic low, with just a quarter of people saying they have confidence in Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.

The annual Pew Research Centre poll of 26,000 respondents found support for the US under Trump falling below that of George W. Bush in 2004, following the invasion of Iraq.

The downward trend since Trump took office has been most exaggerated amongst the US’ closest allies, with just 39% of Canadians polled holding a positive view of the US, down from 65% at the end of the Obama presidency.

In Mexico, meanwhile, the percentage of people with a favourbale view of their northern neighbour has halved to just 32% since Trump’s inauguration, with his “hard stance on immigration and his promise to build a border wall alienating Mexicans and impacting their views of his personal performance as president” says The Hill.

Conversely, Russia, who has been widely accused of US election meddling yet receives continued encouragment from the president, has seen a significant increase in favourability ratings toward the US (+11%) over the past twelve months.

Israel, where Trump has won plaudits for implementing a series of favourable policies including declaring Jerusalem its capital, has also seen support for the US surge to 82%.

The only other country where the US has improved its favourablity rating is Kenya.

Trump’s personal ratings around the world have also sunk to new lows, with a median of just 27% saying they have confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs, below that of Russia’s autocratic President Vladimir Putin on 30%.

Trump’s supporters will argue his “America First” policies were never intended to make him popular globally, and some of his domestic approval ratings have steadied in recent months.

“But such high levels of unpopularity are likely to make other world leaders believe there is no electoral downside in airing their differences with him – or with the US” reports The Guardian.

Yet far from “making America great again”, as Trump and America’s positions have declined on the world stage, many polled said China has taken an increasingly prominent global role.

About 70% say China plays a more important role today than 10 years ago, compared to 31% who say the same about America.