Worse Than George W. Bush! Poll Shows Plunging World Approval Of U.S. Leadership
Earlier this week, based on a survey of nearly 2000 participants, Politico and Morning Consult found more than a third of Americans would give Donald Trump a failing grade for his first year in office. Poll respondents were especially disgusted with his handling of climate change and foreign relations, among other policy matters. Judging from the Rating World Leaders: 2018 report published Thursday, the rest of the world feels much the same way.
According to Gallup, the median approval rating of U.S. leadership abroad has slid from 48 to 30 percent since Trump took office. That’s four points lower than President George W. Bush’s mark of 34 percent in 2008, five years after he launched the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Similarly, disapproval of the U.S. president has soared from 28 to 43 percent over the same time period.
“The recent drop in approval ratings is unrelated to the world’s being less familiar with the new U.S. administration,” Gallup notes. “The global median who do not have an opinion about U.S. leadership in 2017 (23 percent) is similar to the 25 percent in the last year of the Obama presidency.”
Polling data reveal the U.S. has seen its biggest losses in Portugal, Belgium, Norway and Canada, each experiencing a drop in approval rating of at least 40 percent. President Trump has proven especially unpopular in the Americas, where disapproval of U.S. leadership has climbed from 27 to 58 percent since President Barack Obama’s final year in office. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump fared well in Israel, where he enjoys an approval rating of 67 percent—approximately the same mark the U.S. ally gave the second Bush administration.
“The losses in U.S. leadership approval may have implications on U.S. influence abroad,” the poll report continues. “With its stable approval rating of 41 percent, Germany has replaced the U.S. as the top-rated global power in the world. The U.S. is now on nearly even footing with China (31 percent) and barely more popular than Russia (27 percent)—two countries that Trump sees as rivals seeking to “challenge American influence, values and wealth.”
Gallup observes that the findings mark a “return to the status quo” under George W. Bush’s second term. Whether the U.S. will be able to regain the world’s trust, as it largely did under President Obama, remains to be seen.
Read Gallup’s complete findings.
Jacob Sugarman is a managing editor at AlterNet.