US image plunges to all-time lows over virus response

The image of the United States in other wealthy democracies has plunged to all-time lows over its response to the coronavirus, with widespread doubts about President Donald Trump's leadership, a survey said Tuesday, September 15.

A 13-nation survey by the Pew Research Center found that only one country – South Korea – still had mostly favorable views of the United States, and even there it was only 59%.

In historic US ally Britain, 41% said they had a positive view of the United States, the lowest since the center started polling two decades ago.

Favorability toward the US slumped to 31% in France and 26% in Germany, around the same levels recorded at the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003.

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

Only 15% of the people surveyed around the world thought the United States – which has suffered the highest COVID-19 death toll at nearly 200,000 – has done a good job handling the pandemic.

By contrast, most people surveyed gave high marks to the World Health Organization – frequently blamed by the Trump administration – as well as their own countries.

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.

Trump, who is up for re-election on November 3, received low marks in all nations in the survey, which did not include the United States.

His highest rating was in Japan, where still just 25% said they had confidence in his decision-making. The lowest was in Belgium at 9%.

By contrast, majorities trusted German Chancelor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron while by slim margins more people also trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping than Trump.

The survey, however, found an ideological gap, with supporters of right-wing populist parties more likely to trust Trump.

In Spain, 45% of backers of the Vox party said they had confidence in Trump, compared with just 7% among Spaniards who do not support Vox. – Rappler.com