As U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin prepare to meet on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Germany this week, few in the G20 member countries have confidence in either leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Only in Russia do Trump and Putin draw confidence from more than half of the public, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The vast majority of Russians (87%) are confident in Putin and just over half (53%) are confident in Trump, according to the survey, which examines attitudes in 37 nations, including 17 of the 19 G20 member nations. (The organization includes a representative of the European Union; China and Saudi Arabia are the only two member states not represented in the survey.)
In all other G20 countries surveyed, neither Trump nor Putin has the confidence of a majority of the public to do the right thing in world affairs. But people in Germany and Mexico have more faith in Putin than Trump, a difference of 14 percentage points in both countries. While a quarter of Germans (25%) have confidence in Putin, just 11% say the same for Trump. Similarly, around two-in-ten Mexicans (19%) have confidence in Putin on world affairs, compared with just 5% who have confidence in Trump.
Outside of Russia, confidence in Trump is highest in the U.S. (46%), with half as many Americans saying they have confidence in Putin (23%). But in the U.S., confidence in Putin is more than twice as high among Republicans (34%) as among Democrats (13%). Despite Putin’s low overall ratings in the U.S., since 2015, confidence in Putin has doubled among Republicans, while declining slightly among Democrats.
People in India also have more confidence in Trump (40%) than Putin (29%), though most do not express an opinion on Putin (57%). South Africa is the only other country among the G20 where more than one-third of the public has confidence in Trump (39%), while slightly fewer (33%) have confidence in Putin.
In most of the G20 countries surveyed, confidence ratings for Trump and Putin tend to be fairly similar. In 12 of the 17 countries, the shares of the public with confidence in each leader differ by 10 percentage points or less. The public’s confidence in Trump and Putin is especially similar in Italy, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Japan.
While neither Trump nor Putin has the confidence of a majority of the public in any G20 country except Russia, confidence in German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considerably higher. Majorities in eight G20 countries say they are confident in Merkel’s ability to do the right thing regarding world affairs.