This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.
In November, Pew Research released a poll showing that Republicans believed the U.S. was more respected in the world under President Trump than President Obama, while Democrats believed the opposite. [The Economist] The rest of world is siding with the Democrats on this one. From a new Gallup poll: “World’s Approval of U.S. Leadership Drops to New Low.” Indeed, only 30 percent of people around the globe now approve of U.S. leadership.
- Gallup: “One year into Donald Trump’s presidency, the image of U.S. leadership is weaker worldwide than it was under his two predecessors. Median approval of U.S. leadership across 134 countries and areas stands at a new low of 30%, according to a new Gallup report. The most recent approval rating, based on Gallup World Poll surveys conducted between March and November last year, is down 18 percentage points from the 48% approval rating in the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration, and is four points lower than the previous low of 34% in the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration.”
- “Portugal, Belgium, Norway and Canada led the declines worldwide, with approval ratings of U.S. leadership dropping 40 points or more in each country. While majorities in each of these countries approved of U.S. leadership in 2016, majorities disapproved in 2017. In contrast, U.S. leadership approval increased 10 points or more in just four countries: Liberia (+17), Macedonia (+15), Israel (+14), and Belarus (+11). The 67% of Israelis who approve of U.S. leadership is on par with the ratings Israelis gave the U.S. during the Bush administration.”
- “Regionally, the image of U.S. leadership suffered most in the Americas, where approval ratings dropped to a new low. The median of 24% who approve of U.S. leadership in the region now stands at about half of what it was in the last year of the Obama administration (49%).”
- From Politico: The steep decline, researchers said, can be largely attributed to the shift in leadership in the West Wing. ‘I think a lot of respondents when they’re being asked this, the first thing that’s top of mind is the leader of the country,’ Gallup’s global managing partner, Jon Clifton, told POLITICO.”
- “Not since 2008 has U.S. leadership lagged behind both Germany and China in approval worldwide, with the Trump era only outpacing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government in 2017 of the four nations studied. Germany, by contrast, has not seen
supportof its public leaders fall below 40 percent mark—nor rise above 50 percent—once over the past decade, with the stewardship of Chancellor Angela Merkel registering 41 percent approval last year. Ratings for U.S. leadership came in just ahead of Russia’s, which saw 27 percent support in 2017 compared with 30 percent in the U.S.—the slimmest margin between the two nations in the study so far.”
- “U.S. leadership under Trump also made gains in war-torn Iraq, where views improved by 9 points amid a string of victories against the Islamic State that have vastly reduced its military grasp on the region. ‘It’s probably because of our contributions to what’s happening in the defeat of ISIS right now,’ Clifton said of the rise in support.”
WHAT IT MEANS: It’s probably no surprise that Donald Trump isn’t widely respected across Europe and the Americas, or that there’s a general global perception that, under his leadership, the country’s clout is lagging behind that of China and Germany. The president can be erratic, belligerent, impetuous, and illiberal, not traits most liberal Westerners ascribe to leaders they respect. But the scope of the change—declines in basically every major country outside of Israel—is remarkable nonetheless. Trump often claims to be regaining respect allegedly lost during the Obama years [Business Insider/PBS], but so far, the rest of the world disagrees.
Related: Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, told a group of Democratic lawmakers that the president’s campaign promises to build a border wall were not “fully informed” and said that Trump’s thinking on the matter had “evolved.” Kelly also admitted on Fox News that the Mexican government won’t actually pay for the wall. [NYT/The Hill]
- Maybe Trump’s thinking hasn’t evolved that much at all: