Which major leader does the world trust least? The answer is damning
President Donald Trump has shaken global faith in U.S. leadership, an international survey found, as confidence in him lags behind other major world leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
The Pew Research Center found 70 percent of people surveyed across 25 countries this year said they lacked confidence in Trump, compared with 27 percent who said they trusted the American president’s handling of international affairs.
The poll of more than 26,000 people found that opinions of Trump continued to fall among some of America’s closest allies and neighbors, with only 9 percent of French citizens and 6 percent of Mexicans expressing favorable views of him.
Still, respondents in almost every country said it would be better for the U.S. to remain as the top global power, rather than China, which is seen as a rising power. That included large majorities among China’s neighbors such as Japan (81 percent) and the Philippines (77 percent). The only places where pluralities favored Chinese leadership were Tunisia (64 percent), Argentina (35 percent) and Russia (35 percent).
Overall, about 50 percent surveyed continued to hold favorable views of the U.S.
The results provide the latest illustration of global unease over Trump’s “America First” agenda, in which he has imposed tariffs, dismissed the value of multilateral institutions and withdrawn from international agreements. Trump vowed to “reject the ideology of globalism” last week in a speech to the United Nations, where some attendees appeared to laugh at his claims to have accomplished more than almost any U.S. administration.
“Large majorities say the U.S. doesn’t take into account the interests of countries like theirs when making foreign policy decisions,” the Pew report said. “And there are signs that American soft power is waning as well, including the fact that, while the U.S. maintains its reputation for respecting individual liberty, fewer believe this than a decade ago.”
Roughly 70 percent of respondents said the U.S. pays little or no attention to the needs of other nations, compared with 28 percent who said Washington takes their interests into account, Pew found. Confidence in Trump trailed the scores of other world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron, Xi and Putin.
The survey found anxiety about U.S. ties among friends and foes alike. Some 80 percent of Germans said that relations between the allies had deteriorated over the past year and only 10 percent of the country’s residents reported favorable views of Trump. Views of both the U.S. and its president fell in Russia, where Trump’s approval plunged to 19 percent from 53 percent amid disputes over Syria, economic sanctions and allegations of election-meddling.
One notable exception was Israel. Support for Trump jumped 13 points to 69 percent there as the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a decision that angered Palestinians. Trump was also well-received in South Korea, where confidence in Trump increased to 44 percent from 17 percent as he set aside threats of war and opened nuclear talks with North Korea.
The survey was based on telephone and face-to-face interviews and is generally based on national samples, with the margin of error for each country available on the nonprofit research organization’s website.