The violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump’s supporters has generated considerable attention overseas, as well as concerns about the health of American democracy. Even before the riot however, many people in three key allies of the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, were worried about the American political system.

Large majorities in all three countries said in a fall 2020 survey that the U.S. system needs either major changes, or to be completely reformed.

While the 2020 election may have raised concerns about the health of the U.S. political system, doubts about certain aspects of American democracy have been growing over the past several years.

In these three nations, as well as others around the world, the share of people who believe the U.S. government respects the personal freedoms of its people has declined over time. As is true with many aspects of America’s international image, views on this question turned more negative during the Trump years, but the trend began before he took office.