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Reset With Unpopular U.S. May Be Tough Sell in Pakistan

Reset With Unpopular U.S. May Be Tough Sell in Pakistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met with U.S. President Donald Trump this week in Washington, where the two leaders attempted to mend the increasingly strained relations between the two countries. However, a purely political "reset" may be a somewhat tough sell for Khan at home in Pakistan, where approval of U.S. leadership -- while never very popular over the past decade -- has slipped to 14% since Trump took office.

Line graph. Pakistanis’ approval ratings of U.S. leadership have never topped 26%.

After hovering at just above 20% during most of President Barack Obama's second term in office, Pakistanis' approval ratings of U.S. leadership dropped to 14% in Trump's first year. They remained at that same level in July and August 2018, after Trump in January accused Pakistan of providing a "safe haven to terrorists" and suspended more than $1 billion in aid to the country.

Still, the 14% is not the lowest approval rating for U.S. leadership among Pakistanis over the past decade. In the months after the U.S. military killed Osama bin Laden, approval of U.S. leadership dropped to as low as 4%.

Pakistanis More Upbeat About Economy

Banking on the idea that an economic reset may carry considerably more traction than a political reset with Pakistan, the U.S. is dangling stronger trade and economic cooperation if Pakistan does more to fight terrorism and help with peace talks in Afghanistan.

While Pakistan's economy is struggling, Pakistanis at the time of the survey were not as pessimistic as they have been about their living standards or local economic conditions. In fact, nearly half of Pakistanis (49%) in 2018 said their standard of living was getting better.

Line graph. Pakistanis at the time of the 2018 survey were more optimistic than pessimistic about their living standards.

Read more about relations between Pakistan and the U.S. and the approval ratings of U.S. leadership around the world.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

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