The Margin: Global approval of U.S. leadership under Biden rebounds after Trump low, survey says

President Joe Biden’s approval ratings may be falling at home, but he’s still got plenty of love abroad. 

That’s according to Gallup’s latest Rating World Leaders report, which asked adults in 46 countries how much they approve or disapprove of the leadership in the U.S., Germany, China and Russia. At the end of 2020, the survey found just 30% approved of U.S. leadership. But Biden has raised that rating to 49%.

Indeed, the report states that U.S. leadership’s approval rating increased “substantially” — by 10 percentage points or more — in 36 of the 46 countries and territories surveyed through the first half of 2021. What’s more, that 49% median approval rating is on par with the favorable ratings under Barack Obama’s first year in office in 2009. 

Global approval of U.S. leadership.


But the Gallup report also notes that the present international disapproval rating of 36% for U.S. leadership is much higher than it ever was during either of Obama’s terms. The disapproval score under Biden still isn’t as bad as the record high of 44% recorded during Trump’s last year in office, however. 

And keep in mind that the new Gallup report surveyed global citizens through early August — before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which saw the Taliban take over the U.S.-backed Afghan government, and spurred thousands of men, women and children to attempt to flee the country. The blowback sunk Biden’s approval rating among Americans, and the Gallup report noted that global approval ratings could also change over the next few months. 

Related: ‘It was time to end this war’: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal and vows U.S. ‘will never rest’ against enemies

Still, the authors don’t think the overall approval ratings for Biden’s first year in office will drop as low as his predecessor’s, because of the other gains that he made with allies across the globe since taking office. Early multilateral moves such as bringing the U.S. back into the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration had pulled out of, were viewed favorably by many U.S. allies.

Changes in approval of U.S. leadership between 2020 and 2021.


Indeed, an international Pew Research Center survey from June also reported a “significant uptick” in ratings for the U.S. around the world, with 75% of those surveyed saying they had confidence in Biden, compared with 17% who said the same for Trump the year before. And 89% of those surveyed approved of the U.S. rejoining WHO, while 85% supported the U.S. rejoining the Paris climate agreement. 

And an April Morning Consult poll also found that Biden made America great again in the eyes of several U.S. allies. In fact, the U.S.A.’s image improved by nine points on average across 14 surveyed countries, including the U.K., Germany, Canada, Australia and France. The only country in this survey to become less positive toward the U.S. under Biden was China, where almost three in four adults hold unfavorable views toward America. 

The new Gallup report also found approval for U.S. leadership slipping in three countries, including Russia — where approval ratings dropped five percentage points since Trump left office — as well as Serbia and Benin.

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