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A Third of Americans Satisfied With U.S. Global Position

A Third of Americans Satisfied With U.S. Global Position

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans’ satisfaction with the nation’s position in the world is at its lowest since 2017, with 33% satisfied. This marks a slight decline from 37% readings each of the prior three years. Meanwhile, 65% of U.S. adults are dissatisfied with the nation’s global position.


Gallup has tracked this question annually since 2000 as part of its World Affairs poll, most recently conducted Feb. 1-20. The percentage of Americans satisfied with the nation’s global position was consistently above 40% in the early years of the trend, including 65% in 2000 and a high of 71% in early 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

However, this view waned in the second half of George W. Bush’s presidency after the U.S. engaged in prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, falling to a low of 30% in 2008. Since then, this perception has mostly varied between 32% and 40%, except for a brief period above that during Donald Trump’s presidency, when Republicans were especially positive.

The last time a majority of Americans expressed satisfaction with their country’s global position was February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic forced nationwide closures. With Trump in the White House at that time, 85% of Republicans, 48% of independents and 19% of Democrats were satisfied. That 66-percentage-point gap between Republicans and Democrats was the highest on record. Currently, with President Joe Biden in office, 60% of Democrats, 32% of independents and 8% of Republicans are satisfied.

Perceptions of the U.S. Image in the World Back Down to 2017 Level

Since 2000, Gallup has also asked a question gauging Americans’ opinions of how the U.S. rates in the eyes of the world. The latest 42% of U.S. adults who believe the country is viewed very (6%) or somewhat (36%) favorably by the global community is down seven points in the past year.

Like satisfaction with the nation’s position in the world, this measure is at its lowest point since 2017, early in the Trump presidency. At the same time, almost six in 10 Americans think the U.S. is viewed somewhat (36%) or very (21%) unfavorably on the world stage.

The current favorable reading is just two points above the record low in June 2007 when the U.S. was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but well below the 79% post-9/11 high point in the trend.


Partisans’ views of the U.S. international image are sharply polarized, with 65% of Democrats, 41% of independents and 17% of Republicans saying it is viewed favorably.

Steady 37% Say Biden Is Respected by World Leaders

A stable 37% of Americans believe Biden is respected by leaders of other countries, and 58% say he is not. While this is the second consecutive 37% reading for Biden on this measure, it is well below the 58% recorded in February 2021 shortly after his inauguration.

The current reading is on par with Biden’s latest overall job approval rating of 38%. It is also identical to the 37% of Americans who thought Trump was respected by world leaders in 2020, which was the highest of his presidency. While 51% of U.S. adults believed Barack Obama was respected by world leaders in 2012, the comparable point to today in his presidency, a similar 39% said the same of Bush in 2004.


Partisans’ views of the amount of respect that Biden garners from world leaders are even more divided than their opinions about the global image of the U.S. The 71-point gap between Democrats (74%) and Republicans (3%) who now think Biden is respected by foreign leaders matches the 2021 record-high difference. Currently, 34% of independents believe Biden is respected.

Partisans’ Views on Global Measures Shift Depending on President’s Party

The partisan divisions in Americans’ assessments of the United States’ and its leaders’ global standing have been consistent over the past two decades. That is, Republicans and Democrats express high levels of positivity about the U.S. and the president when their party occupies the White House and much more negative views when a president from the opposing party is in office.

The average positive ratings of these three measures about the role of the U.S. in the world for each presidential term show this pattern has been steady since Bush’s presidency. Across the four presidencies since 2001, when a Republican was in office, majorities of Republicans were satisfied with the United States’ position in the world, said the country rates favorably on the world stage and thought the president was respected by world leaders. The same is true of Democrats with a Democratic president in power.

Democrats’ ratings during the Trump years and Republicans’ ratings during the Biden era have been especially low.

Independents’ ratings, as expected, fall between those of Republicans and Democrats on all three measures. Independents have typically been more positive about how other nations view the U.S. than about its position in the world or their perceptions of the president’s global standing.


Bottom Line

With ongoing wars between Russia and Ukraine and Hamas and Israel, Biden is dealing with significant international challenges at a time when majorities of Americans are dissatisfied with their country’s position in the world, think the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by the international community and believe world leaders do not respect him. These data are similar to Gallup World Poll findings that showed median approval of U.S. leadership among residents of 137 countries and areas was 41%.

The current ratings from Americans are among the worst Gallup has measured over the past 24 years. However, majorities of Democrats hold positive views of the United States’ image globally. While majorities of independents view these three measures negatively, they are closer to Democrats than Republicans.

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