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US global standing plummets: survey

September 15, 2020

Only one in six people surveyed across a dozen countries said they have a positive view of the US, in part because of its response to the pandemic. In Germany, respondents held particularly negative views of the US.

USA | Wahlkampagne Donald Trump
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Harnik

The international reputation of the United States has fallen sharply, driven by poor views of how it handled the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey published by the Washington-based Pew Research Center on Tuesday.

"Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the US had handled the coronavirus pandemic," the study said.

On average, only 15% of respondents surveyed across 13 countries viewed the US response to the pandemic in a positive light. Instead, the majority of respondents believed the World Health Organization (WHO), European countries and even China had fared better in tackling the public health crisis.

Germany views US poorly

In Germany, respondents held particularly negative opinions of the US.

Only 26% of those surveyed said they had positive views of the US, just a percentage point above 2003 levels, when many Germans protested against the US-led invasion of Iraq.

In France and the UK, views were only marginally higher than Germany, with 31% and 41% of respondents, respectively, having favorable views of the US. For the UK, a historic ally for the US, it was the lowest figure since Pew started polling there.

Read moreGermans fear Donald Trump more than coronavirus

Putin, Xi beat Trump

Meanwhile, negative views of the US president continued their downward trend since Donald Trump took the reins of the White House, with the study saying they "have consistently been much more negative than those toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, especially in Western Europe."

Overall, other world leaders with traditionally lower views globally had managed to perform better than Trump.

"Ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are overwhelmingly negative, although not as negative as those for Trump," said the study.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ranked best among respondents with roughly three out of four people saying they viewed her in a positive light.

ls/dr (AFP, Reuters, AP)