Donald Trump trusted less than Vladimir Putin in global opinion survey

The Pew Research Centre survey comes just a week after the US president vowed to “reject the ideology of globalism” at the UN

US President Donald Trump speaks during rally at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City, Tennessee on October 1, 2018. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN

United States President Donald Trump has shaken global faith in US leadership as confidence in him lags behind other major world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, a global survey found.

The Pew Research Centre found 70 per cent of people, surveyed across 25 countries this year, said they did not have confidence in Mr Trump, compared with 27 per cent who said they trusted the American president's handling of international affairs.

The poll of more than 26,000 people found that opinions of Mr Trump fell among some of America's closest allies and neighbours, with only 9 per cent of French citizens and 6 per cent of Mexicans expressing favourable views of him.

Still, respondents in almost every country said it would be better for the US to remain as the top global power, rather than China, which is seen as a rising power. That included large majorities among China’s neighbours, such as Japan (81 per cent) and the Philippines (77 per cent).

The only places where pluralities favoured Chinese leadership were Tunisia (64 per cent), Argentina (35 per cent) and Russia (35 per cent).

Overall, about half of those surveyed continued to hold favourable views of the US.

The results provide the latest illustration of global unease over Mr Trump’s “America First” agenda, in which he has imposed tariffs, dismissed the value of multilateral institutions and withdrawn from international agreements.

Mr Trump vowed to “reject the ideology of globalism” last week in a speech to the United Nations, where some attendees appeared to laugh at his claims to have accomplished more than almost any US administration.


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“Large majorities say the US doesn’t take into account the interests of countries like theirs when making foreign policy decisions,” the Pew report said. “And there are signs that American soft power is waning as well, including the fact that, while the US maintains its reputation for respecting individual liberty, fewer believe this than a decade ago.”

About 70 per cent of respondents said the US pays little or no attention to the needs of other nations, compared with 28 per cent who said Washington takes their interests into account, Pew found. Confidence in President Trump trailed the scores of other world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron, Mr Xi and Mr Putin.

One notable exception in the survey was Israel. Support for the US president jumped 13 points to 69 per cent there as the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a decision that angered Palestinians. Trump was also well-received in South Korea, where confidence in Trump increased to 44 per cent from 17 per cent as he set aside threats of war and opened nuclear talks with North Korea.