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U.S. Leadership Remains Unpopular Worldwide
World

U.S. Leadership Remains Unpopular Worldwide

U.S. Leadership Remains Unpopular Worldwide

Story Highlights

  • Global leadership approval 33% for U.S. in Trump's third year
  • Germany top-rated leadership, with 44% approval
  • China's approval rating 32%, Russia unchanged at 30%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the third year of Donald Trump's presidency, a new Gallup report shows that despite marginal gains, the image of U.S. leadership started the new decade in a weaker position globally than at most points under the past two presidents.

After tumbling to a record-low 30% during the first year of Trump's presidency, the image of U.S. leadership was not much better in the third year of his term. The median global approval rating for U.S. leadership across 135 countries and areas edged up to 33% in 2019. This rating is slightly higher than the previous low under Trump, but it is still one percentage point lower than the previous low of 34% under former President George W. Bush in 2008.

GlobalLeadership

Line graph. In the third year of Donald Trump's presidency, the image of U.S. leadership was not much better than in his first year. The median approval rating across 135 countries and areas was 33% in 2019.

For the second consecutive year, approval ratings of U.S. leadership increased in more countries than where they declined -- helping to nudge global numbers upward. Out of the 135 countries and areas, approval ratings declined by 10 points or more in just five countries - Lebanon, Iraq, Italy, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Ratings improved by at least this much in 12 countries or areas that span the globe, but notably, there were few free, democratic countries on the list and few long-time allies. Worldwide, approval ratings of the U.S. improved most in Turkmenistan, rising 32 points from 30% in 2018 to 62% in 2019.

Map@2x

Map. This map shows the gains and losses in approval ratings of U.S. leadership in each of 135 countries and areas between 2018 and 2019. The biggest gain was 32 points in Turkmenistan and the biggest loss was 19 points in Zambia.

U.S. Ratings Remain Mired at Record Lows in Europe, Asia

The image of U.S. leadership fared worst in Europe, where people remain as disenchanted with U.S. leadership as they were in 2017. The 24% median approval rating in 2019 was unchanged from 2018 and essentially the same as the 25% rating in 2017. However, the median 61% who disapproved of U.S. leadership was a new high.

The U.S attained majority approval in three countries or areas in Europe: Kosovo at 82%, Albania at 67% and Poland at 59%.

Europe

Line graph. The 24% median approval rating in Europe in 2019 was unchanged from 2018 and essentially the same as the 25% rating in 2017. However, the median 61% who disapproved of U.S. leadership was a new high.

Ratings of U.S. leadership in Asia also remain near lows not seen since the George W. Bush administration. The median approval rating of 32% in 2019 was unchanged from the previous year, and not too different from the 30% rating in 2017.

Majorities in six Asian countries approved of U.S. leadership. This included Israel (64%), Mongolia (62%), Turkmenistan (62%), the Philippines (58%), Nepal (54%), and Myanmar (53%).

Asia

Line graph. Ratings of U.S. leadership in Asia also remain near lows not seen since the George W. Bush administration.

Ratings Stable in Africa, Improve in the Americas

As it has every year that Gallup has been tracking approval ratings, the image of the U.S. remained strongest worldwide in Africa. Bolstered by majority approval in 21 sub-Saharan African countries, median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 52% in 2019 -- unchanged from the previous year. This rating is notably still on the lower side for ratings since 2007.

As in the past, those in North Africa do not feel the same way about U.S. leadership, and this is where the U.S. typically gets the lowest leadership ratings.

Africa

Line graph. Bolstered by majority approval in 21 sub-Saharan African countries, median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 52% in 2019, unchanged from the previous year.

The Americas are the only region of the world where ratings of U.S. leadership improved in 2019. In 2017, they were the worst in the world at 24%, but have slowly improved since then and stood at 34% in 2019. The increase mostly came because of small increases in approval in most countries except Mexico, Nicaragua and Paraguay.

But the news wasn't all positive. Residents in most countries in the Americas continue to be more disapproving than approving of U.S. leadership. The median disapproval rating for the U.S. is 51%.

Americas

Line graph. The Americas are the only region of the world where ratings of U.S. leadership improved in 2019.

Germany Solidifies Top Leadership Status

Germany in 2019 remained the top-rated global power for the third consecutive year, albeit on firmer footing than in the past several. After dropping below 40% approval for the first time in a decade in 2018, Germany's median approval rating rebounded to 44% in 2019.

GlobalMedian

Line graph. Germany in 2019 remained the top-rated global power for the third consecutive year, with a median approval rating of 44%.

The approval ratings of the U.S., China and Russia continue to cluster closely together in the lower 30s. Although China edged slightly ahead of the U.S. in 2018 with an approval rating of 34%, China's 32% rating in 2019 places it on par with the rating for the U.S. Russia's approval rating of 30% in 2019 was unchanged from the previous year and now stands slightly lower than that of the U.S.

Implications

While Gallup will not release another global measure of U.S. leadership approval before the next U.S. election, the next leader -- Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden -- clearly has a lot of work to do to advance the U.S. image around the globe.

Read the Rating World Leaders: 2020 report and check out our new Global Leadership Approval Center.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/316133/leadership-remains-unpopular-worldwide.aspx
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