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Biden outperforms Trump in global approval ratings

June 11, 2024

New poll indicates US President Joe Biden has higher global approval than Donald Trump. Respondents in Europe and Canada express significant distrust towards Trump.

US President Joe Biden
Biden's image has been hit globally by how his administration has dealt with the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, a new survey showedImage: Evan Vucci/AP/picture alliance

US President Joe Biden is seen more positively worldwide than his predecessor Donald Trump, according to a new poll published by the Washington-based Pew Research Center on Tuesday. 

The survey, conducted in 34 countries between January and May this year, showed that people in these places trust Biden more than Trump to do the right thing regarding global affairs.

Pew found that the difference in views of the two US presidents is very large in some nations. It noted that trust in Trump was particularly low in Western European countries and Canada.

"Most in Canada and across Europe do not have confidence in Trump, with more than eight-in-ten holding this view in France, Germany and Sweden," the report said.

In Germany, "63% of Germans trust Biden, but only 15% trust Trump — a difference of nearly 50 percentage points."

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Israel-Hamas war hits Biden's image

Biden's image, however, has been hit globally by how his administration has dealt with the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Most people surveyed by Pew disapproved of Washington's actions.

"Ratings for the current U.S. president are down since last year in 14 of 21 countries where trends are available, including by double digits in Australia, Israel, Japan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom," according to the report's authors.

"In nearly every country surveyed, fewer than half approve of the way he has been dealing with the war," the report stated.

"Disapproval rates are particularly high in some countries where a large majority of the population is Muslim, specifically Malaysia, Tunisia and Turkey."

The Pew survey was conducted prior to Biden announcing a proposal to end the conflict.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council backed a US resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The plan envisions a cease-fire in stages, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war.

Israel has said it will agree only to temporary pauses until Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, Germany, the EU and others — is defeated.

 Hamas has maintained that it will not accept a deal that does not guarantee a permanent cease-fire.

Israel-Hamas war: US truce plan puts Netanyahu on the spot

Differing views on Biden's handling of war in Ukraine

Many of the respondents in the Pew survey also disapprove of Biden's handling of Russia's war against Ukraine.

But views differ strongly across Europe.

While nearly two-thirds of Poles approve of the way Washington has dealt with the conflict, respondents in Turkey and Hungary strongly disapprove.

"In all, half or more disapprove of Biden's dealing with the Russia-Ukraine conflict in six of the 12 NATO members surveyed."

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden administration has provided over $100 billion (€93 billion) in military and financial assistance to Ukraine.

Biden signed the most recent aid package in April this year after months of delay in the US Congress.

Favorable views of US

Despite many people around the world disapproving of US policies with regard to the Israel-Hamas conflict, the overall attitudes toward the US remain generally positive, Pew said.

In Europe, Poles are most likely to evaluate the US positively, with 86% of them holding a favorable view, the report underlined.

"In the Asia-Pacific region, 70% or more rate the U.S. positively in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand," it said.

"The U.S. receives the lowest ratings of the survey in Tunisia and Turkey, where 80% or more have a negative opinion."

What else did the survey find out?

In addition to views of Biden and Trump, the survey also asked participants how much trust they have in French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping to do the right thing in world affairs.

"Confidence in Macron is similar, overall, to confidence in Biden," the report pointed out, with roughly 44% of respondents saying they had confidence in them.

"People in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden are particularly likely to have confidence in Macron, but few hold this view in Hungary, Tunisia or Turkey."

Confidence in Xi and Putin is generally low across the countries surveyed.

"A median of 24% trust the Chinese president, while 21% trust the Russian leader."

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Edited by: Roshni Majumdar

Srinivas Mazumdaru Editor and reporter focusing on business and Asia