02 October 2020

There Goes Our Image

Welcome back. When the 2016 election results were announced, I apologized to the world. I knew many voted against Clinton, not for Trump, yet I was incredulous and ashamed that I hadn’t noticed my country had changed so much. I feared what the next four years would bring. I wish I could say that fear was misplaced.

Rather than give my take on such topics as climate change and environment, conspiracies, white supremacy, QAnon and Black Lives Matter, or the extraordinary number of lies and misleading claims and their effect on partisanship as well as trust in government, the mainstream media, elections and mail-in voting, I thought I’d just highlight some findings from the Pew Research Center’s Summer 2020 Global Attitudes Survey.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberates with President Trump during 2018 G-7 summit in Canada (German Federal Government/Jesco Denzel via Associated Press photo from www.businessinsider.com/international-leaders-condemn-trump-racist-tweets-2019-7).
Rating the U.S. and Trump
The Pew survey was conducted via telephone interviews with at least 1,000 adults in each of 13 countries from 10 June to 3 August 2020. In all, there were 13,273 respondents.

Earlier surveys found the image of the U.S. suffered in many regions of the globe since Trump took office. The country’s image continued that decline in the current survey, reflecting the lack of confidence in the president. In some countries, favorable views were as low as they had been since Pew surveys began polling the topic nearly two decades ago.

Favorable view of U.S. and confidence in Trump from Pew Research Center’s Summer 2020 Global Attitudes Survey of 13 countries (see P.S. for link).
The 13-country medians were only 34% of survey respondents with a favorable view of the U.S. and only 16% with confidence in Trump. No country had more than 25% of its respondents express confidence in Trump, which apparently is consistent with the ratings since the start of his presidency.

Remarkably, when it comes to doing the right thing regarding world affairs, our president is trusted less than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ratings of trust in leaders of U.S. and other selected countries from Pew Research Center’s Summer 2020 Global Attitudes Survey of 13 countries (see P.S. for link).
Coronavirus Response
Part of the decline can, of course, be attributed to the president’s coronavirus response--his lack of leadership, continuing misstatements, choice of politics over science and politicization of science.

Survey respondents in every country were satisfied with their own country’s response (“Our country”), and they gave respectable ratings to the World Health Organization and European Union. Overall, however, 84% judged the U.S. handled the coronavirus badly. Notably, they rated the response of WHO and even China, Trump’s coronavirus scapegoats, much higher than the response of the U.S.

Ratings of the coronavirus response of 13 countries, World Health Organization, European Union, China and U.S. from Pew Research Center’s Summer 2020 Global Attitudes Survey of 13 countries (see P.S. for link).
World’s Leading Economic Power
The response to most survey questions would likely incur the president’s wrath, though he might react strongest to China, not the U.S., being chosen by Canada and European country respondents as the world’s leading economic power. 

Most common choice of world’s leading economic power from Pew Research Center’s Summer 2020 Global Attitudes Survey of 13 countries (see P.S. for link).
Trump worked so hard to credit his presidency with an unprecedented comeback for an economy that was in a dismal state when he first took office. This required ignoring the trends Obama’s economic stewardship set in motion after the 2008 Great Recession--a recovery Trump and the Republicans were able to continue…at least until the president decided to take on China alone with failed tariffs.

Wrap Up
Two items of note, one possibly affecting the results, the other of general interest.

Because of the pandemic, interviews were not conducted in countries where Pew surveys are typically performed face-to-face. Confidence in Trump has been relatively higher in some of these countries.

The survey found trust in the president is low across most demographic groups, but similar to the U.S., men, people with less education and those on the right of the ideological spectrum tend to rate him higher.

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to register and vote, in person or by mail. Imagine how the country's image will be affected if Trump doesn't accept the election results.

Pew Research Center Survey: www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/09/15/us-image-plummets-internationally-as-most-say-country-has-handled-coronavirus-badly/

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