July 17, 2017

9 charts on how the world sees President Trump

Since Pew Research Center conducted its first Global Attitudes survey in 2002, we have explored how the world sees the United States. This year’s survey finds negative reactions around much of the world to Donald Trump’s presidency, and major changes in ratings for the U.S. Here are nine charts that highlight international perceptions of Trump.

1Globally, Trump is much less popular than his predecessor. Across 37 countries we surveyed in spring 2017, a median of just 22% said they have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs. In contrast, 64% expressed confidence in President Barack Obama in these same 37 nations during the final years of his presidency.

And this shift in American leadership has clearly had an impact on how the world sees the U.S.: A median of 49% now give the U.S. a favorable rating, down from 64% in the Obama era.

2Only a few countries have positive views of Trump. In just eight of the 37 nations in the study, roughly half or more say they have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs. The president gets his best reviews in the Philippines, where 69% express trust in him (although this is down from the 94% Obama registered in 2015). Trump also gets mostly positive ratings in sub-Saharan Africa, as did both Obama and former President George W. Bush. Russia, Israel and Vietnam also have confidence in Trump’s ability to handle international relations.

3Trump’s ratings in Western Europe look a lot like Bush’s at the end of his tenure. While Obama was very popular in Western Europe, his presidency was bookended by two very unpopular Republican presidents. Major elements of George W. Bush’s foreign policies met with widespread opposition in the region, and by the time he left office, his ratings in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain were quite low. Today, Trump gets similar marks as Bush in these four nations.

4Europeans who favor right-wing parties are generally more likely to have confidence in Trump. Those with a favorable view of right-wing parties in France, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany tend to express more confidence in Trump. For example, in France, 39% of people with a positive view of Marine Le Pen’s National Front party have confidence in the U.S. president, compared with just 6% among those who have an unfavorable opinion of the National Front.

Still, even among those who like right-wing parties, confidence in Trump is limited, and there is no Western European country in which a majority of right-wing party supporters offer a positive assessment of the American president’s leadership in world affairs.

5Trump gets more negative ratings globally than Merkel, Xi or Putin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only world leader included in the survey who receives more positive than negative reviews. Across the 37 nations polled, a median of 42% express confidence in her, while 31% say they lack confidence. Ratings for Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are mostly negative, and Trump receives even more unfavorable assessments than both of them.

6Global publics oppose some of Trump’s major policies. We tested five of Trump’s major national security and foreign policy proposals – withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, placing tighter restrictions on people entering the U.S. from certain majority-Muslim nations, pulling out of international climate change agreements, withdrawing from trade deals and building a wall on the Mexican border – and with a few exceptions, they meet with broad disapproval around the world.

7Most say Trump is arrogant, intolerant and dangerous, but a majority also sees him as a strong leader. Survey respondents were read a list of positive and negative characteristics and asked whether each one describes Trump. Around the globe, people tend to associate the American leader with all of the negative characteristics tested: Most say he is arrogant, intolerant and dangerous, while relatively few think of him as well-qualified or as someone who cares about ordinary people. Describing Trump as charismatic is more common, though global publics on balance do not think of him as charismatic, either. They do, however, see Trump as a strong leader – a median of 55% across the nations polled describe him this way.

8Trump gets his lowest ratings in Mexico. Over the past decade, U.S. presidents have gotten mixed or negative reviews in Mexico, but at 5%, Trump registers the lowest confidence rating of any U.S. leader in Mexico since Pew Research Center began surveying there. His rating in Mexico is also the lowest among the 37 nations polled in 2017. The proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico has been a high-profile position for Trump since he declared his candidacy for president, and more than nine-in-ten Mexicans oppose it. U.S. favorability has typically been higher than confidence in the American president in Mexico, and that remains the case this year – though the share of the public with a positive view of the U.S. has dropped steeply since 2015.

9Russians give Trump higher marks than they gave Obama or Bush. Amid ongoing controversies and investigations into allegations of links between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, attitudes toward the U.S. and its president have turned more positive in Russia. Following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Russians’ ratings for both the U.S. as a country and for Obama plummeted. However, since 2015 – the last time the Center polled in Russia – favorable opinions of the U.S. have become much more common, and Trump gets better reviews in Russia than either of his predecessors ever did.

Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, U.S. Political Figures, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Global Balance of Power

  1. Photo of Richard Wike

    is director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center.

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  1. Wes Brazo4 days ago

    I work in Italy about half a year and I heard many Italians say they wish they had a president as strong as Trump to deal with immigration issues. The West has no idea what is going on in Europe and the money and hell they are going through with 1,300 Syrians and Africans arriving on their borders every day. Austria has put up a wall. Hungary has put up a wall. Perhaps, Trump may prove the best thing for America, despite the cry babies on the left.

    1. Anonymous2 days ago

      I’m Italian, and I’m pleased to look at graph 4 and see that Italy is, among European countries, the one with the highest confidence in Trump.

    2. Thomas P Kennedy III4 hours ago

      Many Americans view President Trump as our last chance & greates hope to protect our Sovereignty & borders.

      President Trump respects the rule of law here & abroad when USA & our allies are threatened which he clearly detailed in his speech delivered in Poland.

      President Trump is a strong supporter of our military. He stands up for our troops serving & our Veterans which Americans believe are our dearest citizens as they protect our freedoms as a Nation. In the same way Pesident Trump supports our military he stands behind our law enforcement officers. Our thin blue line is made up of citizens who live in & are employed to protect our communities and from Day 1 of announcing his campaign, our president has proven his steadfast support of law enforcement, a welcome change from Obama. As a retired law enforcement officer with my family serving in the military & as 1st Responders I am a loyal supporter of President Trump.

      I agree with those who state President Trump may well be the greatest president in modern times.

      Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

  2. Anonymous5 days ago

    The only issue we should be concerned about now is the effects of global warming on the planet. Nothing else matters if we destroy our home, the earth. No amount of military might will be able to put things right after the destruction.

  3. Anonymous5 days ago

    See Trump as a strong leader – a median of 55% across the nations polled describe him this way….. the most important part of the survey. “like me don’t like me”, but know not to cross me.

    1. Anonymous4 days ago

      If they (Pew) asked respondents to clarify what they meant by “strong”, I’m sure we’d see it as analogous to “stubborn, bull-headed, unwilling to compromise, etc.”.

  4. Anonymous7 days ago

    I remembered many American folks rushed to Canadian immigration website after Trump won election, but how many of them really immigrated to Canada? Or it’s just another action art pulled by those idled Yankees?

  5. Anonymous1 week ago

    Yes, some of us Americans DO care what the rest of the world thinks about our country. Right now, we’re the laughingstock & it’s embarrassing to have such a self-centered, unenlightened person at the helm.

    1. Packard Day1 week ago

      Courage Monsieur Flocon de neige! Together, I think we will somehow manage to get through all of the laughter and embarrassment. Yes we will.

    2. Anonymous7 days ago

      Let them laugh. They’re still using American microchips and cellphones. Even light bulbs they’re relying on are created in America.

      1. Anonymous5 days ago

        Cell phones, microchips and light bulbs are all made in China. Only a Trump supporter would be so ignorant to not know this.

  6. Packard Day1 week ago

    As if anyone in America cares. What the rest of the world should be most worried about right now is how we Americans see them and their leaders. Are our NATO allies in Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, or even Germany truly worth fighting WW III over? Is militarily confronting North Korea on behalf of South Korea and Japan really in America’s best interests? Is keeping open the Straights of Hormuz with all of its European & Pacific Rim bound oil worth the risks now being taken by American servicemen and women?___Yes friends, what will the world do if and when we in America ever decide that their next life or death crisis is not necessarily a crisis for us at all? If I were them, that is what I would be most worried about.

    1. Anonymous1 week ago

      Actually, that day has come and gone. Based on my experience, the rest of the world will be just fine without the United States.

      1. Sirius Black1 week ago

        except of course that the US still picks up the costs for ~72% of the NATO’s millitary (about $650 billion) and that the US is the only country in the world that spends more money on its millitary than china($129 bn), saudi arabia($81 bn), or russia ($70 bn), with the first NATO runner-up being the UK ($61.8 bn) and then france ($50 bn)


        but anyway, sure, you’ll be fine if china and russia randomly decide it’s payback time for WWII (i know, i know, china wasn’t really involved… it’s a joke)

        1. Packard Day1 week ago

          “China wasn’t really involved” in WW II?___Really? Tell that to the Chinese survivors of the “Rape of Nanking (Dec 1937-Jan 1938) and the hundreds of millions living in Manchuria who were forced to live under Japanese barbarity until September 1945.

      2. Anonymous1 week ago

        The United States is the world leader in military spending. The next two world leaders in military spending are Russia and China. If the US were to disappear, China and Russia (two aggressive countries, think of the South China Sea and Russia annexing Crimea) would run over everyone else (including Norway, supposedly a country the US should look up to, which is only 35th in military spending).

    2. Anonymous1 week ago

      Actually, millions and millions of Americans do care how the rest of the world sees us. Only those with limited understanding of how America is interconnected in so many multiple ways do not care about how the rest of the world sees America.

    3. Anonymous4 days ago

      U.S. propaganda presents U.S. aggression and military expansion as a force for security and stability. In reality, it is U.S. militarism that has been driving global militarism. When the U.S. cut its military budget by a third between 1985 and 1998, the rest of the world followed suit and global military budgets also fell by a third. But as the US spent trillions of dollars on weapons and war after 2000, boosting its share of global military spending from 38% to 48% by 2008, both allies and potential enemies responded in kind with a 65% rise in global military spending.