US president Donald Trump came to office promising an isolationist foreign policy, which put “America First,” above the rest of the global order. He has actively rejected taking global leadership.
The world has responded by rejecting him, according to a poll released today (Jan. 18). Gallup asked about 1,000 people in 134 countries whether they approved of American, German, Chinese, and Russian leadership. They found that the number of people who approved of US leadership had dropped 18 points compared to Barack Obama’s last year in office. When you factor in the 43% who disapprove of America’s leadership, Trump now has a global net approval rating lower than Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
The numbers confirm results published in a Pew survey of 37 countries last summer.
There are a few positives for Trump, though. While Obama had a strained relationship with Israel, Trump has embraced the country and has subsequently received a 14% bump in support there over his predecessor. And those figures came before Trump recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital, as the poll was taken between March and November 2017. Russian support for the US has grown 6% under Trump, though that’s not saying much, since only 8% of Russians approve of American leadership.
Despite Trump paying almost no attention to Africa, America’s backing in the continent has stayed strong, with 51% supporting American leadership, compared to 20% disapproving. However, US approval still saw a 10% drop in 11 countries on the continent and it’s likely to get worse in next year’s numbers, following reports last week that Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries.” China, the continent’s largest trade partner, had a 50% approval rating in Africa, with 15% disapproving—that gave it a higher net approval than the US.
Meanwhile, the number of people who approve of the US in the Americas has plummeted from 49% in 2016, to 24% in 2017. Some 58% of people now disapprove of US leadership there.
The US also saw a stark drop in Europe, where Trump has lambasted NATO and said Britain would be “better off” without the European Union. Only 25% of Europeans approve of the US, compared to 44% in 2016. The disapproval rate is now at 56%.