There has been an 18 percentage points drop in confidence by Indians in the US leadership since President Donald Trump assumed office, according to a new survey in 37 countries. India is one of the countries that looks on the US president most favourably – 40 per cent of respondents had confidence in him compared with 58 per cent for former president Barack Obama, according to the Pew Research Center. The findings come despite concerted efforts by Trump to build relationships with world leaders.
Yesterday, he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House and agreed to strengthen the Indo-US economic partnership in a way that results in a win-win for the two major economies, while amicably working on resolving differences. The survey found that just 22 per cent of those interviewed outside the US expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing, compared with 64 per cent who had similar confidence in the late stages of Obama’s administration, the survey said. However, the survey found that Russians’ attitudes toward the US have improved since Trump took office.
In only two of 37 countries in the survey did Trump fare better than Obama. The two countries are Russia and Israel. Elsewhere, though, and with remarkable speed, Trump’s presidency has taken a toll on the US’ image abroad, the survey said. The new figures are similar to those toward the end of the George W Bush administration.
Trump himself has fared even worse: A median 22 per cent are confident that Trump will do the right thing in global affairs, down from 64 per cent who had confidence in Obama. From Chile to Italy, from Sweden to Japan, majorities consider the president arrogant, intolerant, unqualified and dangerous. On the flip side, most view him as a strong leader. And many expect their country’s relationship with the US to withstand his presidency.
It is perhaps unsurprising that a man who campaigned on a pledge to put American interests first would generate backlash in other parts of the world. Nor is it surprising that the negative reaction would carry over to opinions about the US itself. Particularly in Europe, “that is almost a reflex”, said Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for European affairs. In many countries, support for the US president is now below that of George Bush in 2004 following the Iraq invasion. Globally, two-thirds of respondents describe Trump as “arrogant and dangerous”.
Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) have little to no confidence in the Republican leader. By contrast, in the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, a median of 64 per cent expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world. The polling also shows that the low level of support for the president is leading to a decline in support for wider American values.
For the first time in Pew research history, most Canadians no longer regard America as a force for good in the world. Just 43 per cent of Canadians have a positive view of their neighbour. The US president has persistently low ratings across Latin America and Europe, where medians of only 14 per cent and 18 per cent respectively have confidence in his leadership. The survey also finds that Trump is personally disliked globally, with most seeing him as arrogant, intolerant and dangerous, while few think of him as well-qualified or as someone who cares about ordinary people.
The poll suggests that German chancellor Angela Merkel has replaced the American president as the politician to whom the world’s people look for leadership. Forty-two per cent expressed confidence in the German chancellor, while 31 per cent said they did not have confidence in her.
In the UK, 89 per cent see Trump as arrogant, 77 per cent as intolerant and 69 per cent as dangerous. Most of his trademark policies are also unpopular, including his proposed wall on the Mexican border, his withdrawal from the Paris climate change treaty and his ban on immigrants from several mainly Muslim countries.