World’s opinion of U.S. hits new low under Trump — especially in Canada: poll

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, January 6, 2018. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON — A new global survey suggests the world’s impression of the United States is plummeting under President Donald Trump, with Canada registering the largest such decline of any country within the Western Hemisphere.

The Gallup polling company registered the worst annual score for the U.S. since it began doing annual global leadership surveys in 2007 – with approval of U.S. leadership down nearly 20 points in one year, now languishing at 30 per cent worldwide.

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“More people now disapprove of U.S. leadership than approve,” said Jon Clifton of Gallup. “This historic low puts the U.S.’s leadership approval rating on par with China’s and sets a new bar for disapproval.”

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Germany has replaced the U.S. as the top-rated global power in the world, at 41 per cent according to Gallup. The U.S. is now just behind China at 31 per cent, and just ahead of Russia at 27 per cent.

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The survey found wall-to-wall declines throughout the Americas – with the biggest shift in the next-door neighbour to the north.

The number of Canadian respondents who said they approved of the job performance of the U.S. leadership dropped 40 per cent in one year, followed by slightly less dramatic dips in Panama and Costa Rica, with the other U.S. NAFTA neighbour, Mexico, showing a decline of 28 per cent.

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In Canada, 20 per cent of respondents said they approved of the job performance of U.S. leadership; 76 per cent said they disapproved.

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Those numbers were backed up by another new poll Thursday. Angus Reid said a mere 13 per cent of Canadians surveyed had a positive impression of the Trump presidency, versus 70 per cent who saw it negatively, with the numbers declining from earlier surveys. Trump received the highest approval in Alberta, where 29 per cent viewed him positively, and 16 per cent had mixed feelings.

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“This hurts a lot,” tweeted Bruce Heyman, former president Barack Obama’s last ambassador to Canada.

“Our best friend Canada has been impacted by this administration’s immigration policy, environmental policy and trade policy. But most important the language and style coming from (Trump) don’t match up to Canadian values.”

Views of the U.S. declined even more elsewhere – in Belgium, and in Portugal, with the latter registering the largest drop in support for U.S. leadership with a decline of 51 per cent.

The U.S. made a number of major international moves in the first year of Trump’s presidency.

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It withdrew from the Paris climate accord, cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, began renegotiating NAFTA, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, withdrew from the UN cultural agency, questioned or watered down agreements with Iran and Cuba, blocked Syrian refugees, cancelled several migration programs, instituted a travel ban on certain countries, threatened North Korea over its nuclear program and re-committed to the war in Afghanistan.
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Support for the U.S. grew in several countries.

It was up in Israel, Poland, Slovakia, Belarus, Liberia, Lebanon, Iraq, and in perennial U.S. rival Russia, where approval of U.S. leadership registered only eight per cent, despite the increase.

Gallup sampled 1,000 people per country in 134 countries in a variety of face-to-face, landline telephone and cellphone interviews, and considers its results accurate to within two and five percentage points, depending on the country.

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