United States image plunges to all-time lows over virus response

Clay Curtis
September 18, 2020

The reputation of the United States in the global community has taken a hit due to President Donald Trump's handling of COVID-19, according to a Pew Research survey released Tuesday.

The respondents in all 13 countries agree that the USA has had the worst response to the novel coronavirus.

South Korea has the highest regard for the United States at 59%.

A 13-nation survey by the US think tank found that only 41% of those surveyed in Britain have a favorable opinion of the USA, the lowest percentage of any comparable survey Pew has conducted in the country.

Trump has pursued an "America First" agenda, pulling the US out of multiple worldwide agreements and asking European allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to contribute more in defense spending. 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. Belgium gave him his most negative assessment, with just 9% expressing confidence that Trump will do what is right when handling global affairs.

The most active votes for the American leader were those from Europe who support the right-wing parties at home. Back in late 2008 when Barack Obama was elected, America's foreign favorability made a comeback and people in allied countries dramatically restored their confidence in the then American President.

The image of the U.S. overseas has suffered since the beginning of the Trump administration, but it fell to a new low this year with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a poll shows.

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Trump was also perceived in a more negative light than other world leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin surpassed his American counterpart Donald Trump in the rating of trust among residents of 13 developed countries.

But South Koreans separate their view of Mr Trump from their view of the US.

Putin's trust gap with Trump has widened somewhat from past year, when 33% of Pew respondents from 33 countries expressed confidence in him compared to Trump's 29%.

Pew surveyed 13,273 adults from June 10 to August 3, a period also marked by mass protests in the United States against racial injustice.

The Pew Global Attitudes survey of 13,273 people was conducted from June to August in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Out of the 83 per cent of Canadian participants unimpressed with the USA response, 57 per cent rated it as "very bad" and 26 per cent as "somewhat bad".

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