- Approval of U.S. leadership retreats to 41%
- Under new leadership, Germany remained the top-rated global power for sixth year
- Russia’s image suffered after invasion of Ukraine; record-high 57% disapprove
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After a relatively strong debut in his first year in office, the honeymoon is over for U.S. President Joe Biden, as approval ratings of U.S. leadership worldwide slid at the halfway mark of his term.
A new Gallup report based on surveys in nearly 140 countries in 2022 shows that the median global approval rating of U.S. leadership stood at 41% last year. This rating is much lower than the 49% median approval measured during Biden’s first six months on the job -- before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan -- and the 45% approval for his first full year in office.
Historically, the 41% approval rating is considerably lower than former President Barack Obama’s second-year rating of 47% but still higher than former President Donald Trump’s second year (31%) or the ratings during the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency (38% and 34%).
Approval ratings of U.S. leadership in 2022 continued the retreat that began after the U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. Ratings decreased substantially -- by 10 percentage points or more -- between 2021 and 2022 in 36 of the 116 countries surveyed in both years.
Approval declined the most -- by at least 21 points -- among key strategic partners in Europe and the Americas, including Greece (31 points), Brazil (22 points), Canada (22 points) and the Netherlands (21 points).
However, along with these losses, the U.S. made notable gains in 11 countries, with ratings rising as many as 30 points in Poland, 29 points in Ukraine, 15 points in Israel and 11 points in India, where approval ratings reached a record high.
Despite the losses and the decline in overall approval, U.S. leadership still enjoyed majority approval in 42 countries around the world, and disapproval remained unchanged from the previous year at 33%.
Germany Also Loses Some Clout, but Still on Top
In addition to asking about U.S. leadership each year, Gallup also asks the world about the leadership of other global powers, including Germany, China and Russia.
Under new leadership for the first time in decades with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the helm, Germany remained the top-rated global power for the sixth consecutive year. In 2022, median approval of Germany’s leadership across 137 countries stood at 46%, down from 50% in 2021. Notably, the rating in Scholz’s first year was still higher than most ratings throughout former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lengthy tenure.
Although slightly weaker than in 2021, Germany and the U.S. netted higher approval ratings than Russia or China. Russia’s approval rating after its invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022 fell sharply from 33% in 2021 to 21% -- one percentage point lower than its previous low of 22% after its occupation of Crimea in 2014. China’s approval rating remained relatively flat at 28%, despite its “Russia-friendly” stance.
After Invasion, the Majority of the World Now Disapproves of Russia’s Leadership
While the U.S. and its allies in Europe and Asia condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, approval of Russia dropped in virtually every region of the world, providing evidence that the rebuke of its actions extended much more broadly. As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin now facing war crimes charges, it is possible that Russia could find itself more isolated.
The 12-point drop in Russia’s overall approval ratings last year erased steady gains in approval between 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine, and 2020, when approval hit a high point of 34%.
At the same time that approval fell, global disapproval of Russian leadership soared in 2022. Across 137 countries in 2022, a median of 57% said they disapprove of Russia’s leadership -- a dramatic increase from 38% in 2021 and by far the highest point in Gallup’s trend dating back to 2007, including ratings after the first invasion.
One of the biggest foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. and its allies in 2023 and beyond will be to ensure the transatlantic unity that was so greatly tested in 2022 does not fracture as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.
The images of the U.S. and Germany are slightly weaker than before the war started, but they are still much stronger than Russia’s. But perhaps more importantly, the soaring disapproval of Russia’s leadership in all parts of the world shows the two powers are not alone in their disdain.
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