WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. President Joe Biden will need to lean into newfound goodwill among NATO allies on Thursday as he meets with NATO leaders in a high-stakes summit about the war in Ukraine.
Gallup surveys conducted before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 showed the image of U.S. leadership was stronger across much of NATO than it had been in years, after languishing at low levels during the Trump administration. Between 2020 and 2021, U.S. leadership saw double-digit gains in 20 of the 27 NATO members surveyed both years.
Ratings of U.S. leadership in many countries in 2021 -- including key NATO partners such as Germany and the Netherlands -- matched or surpassed levels seen during the Obama administration.
|Approve||Disapprove||Don't know||Change in approval,
2020 to 2021
|Data collected in 2020 and 2021|
Lithuania was the only NATO member where approval ratings headed in a negative direction, with a six-percentage-point drop. But even so, the leadership of the U.S. earned higher approval in Lithuania last year than did the leadership of Russia (8%) and China (5%).
In the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, one of the big questions was how much damage the quick pullout might have done to Biden's credibility on the world stage and whether it might hamper his future ability to work with U.S. allies.
While a fair number of NATO countries were surveyed before the U.S. withdrawal and it's not possible to see how much of an effect that might have had on approval, a fair number were also surveyed during or well after the U.S. withdrawal. This includes Belgium, which saw a 29-point increase between 2020 and 2021.
Few outside Moscow likely could have foreseen how quickly U.S. power would be tested with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And even fewer likely anticipated the entire geopolitical order would essentially be upended as Biden started his second year in office.
The only certainty about what happens next is its potential to shape the future world order. The data suggest that the U.S. has more support in the court of global public opinion now than it did in the recent past, and that could help it exercise its soft power with world leaders.
In the coming weeks, Gallup will unveil how the image of U.S. leadership fared across the rest of the world in 2021, as well as how Germany, Russia and China stack up.
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For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.