President Donald Trump walks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis along the Colonnade of the White House in Washington on January 7, 2020. Canadian attitudes towards President Donald Trump and his controversial approach to international relations appeared to soften slightly in the weeks after U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from north of the border were lifted last spring, a new global survey suggests. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Alex Brandon

Survey finds persistent Canadian respect for U.S., wide disdain for Trump

Right-wing Canadians are more likely to support Trump

Canadian attitudes towards President Donald Trump and his controversial approach to international relations appeared to soften slightly in the weeks after U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from north of the border were lifted last spring, a new global survey suggests.

But overall confidence in Trump’s handling of world affairs remained low in Canada and elsewhere beyond the borders of the United States, according to the results of the Pew Research Center’s annual Global Attitudes Survey, released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by Gallup last year between late May and early July, showed a modest increase in the percentage of Canadian respondents with confidence in the president to “do the right thing regarding world affairs”: 28 per cent, up from 25 per cent in 2018 and just 22 per cent the year before.

That was well before two of the most earth-shaking developments of the Trump presidency: last month’s impeachment vote in the House of Representatives and the U.S. drone strike last week that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian military leader whose death has triggered widespread fury and retaliatory threats in the Middle East.

But it did follow by just days the news that Canada’s year-long, tit-for-tat tariff standoff with the White House — largely a side effect of the protracted and often tense months of negotiations over the North American trade pact — had finally come to an end.

In Canada and elsewhere, the poll also registered an increase in Trump support among respondents from the right side of the political spectrum, said Jacob Poushter, the Pew Research Center’s associate director.

On what Pew calls the “ideological right,” confidence in Trump’s foreign policy among Canadian respondents reached 43 per cent in 2019, compared to 33 per cent the previous year. In some other countries, the spike was more pronounced: 22 points each in Hungary and Spain, and 15 points in Brazil.

But perhaps the most striking aspect of the global poll is that while the president remains deeply unpopular around the world, respondents continued to have a positive opinion of the country he leads.

“Across the countries that we surveyed, only 29 per cent have confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing with respect to world affairs, while at the same time 54 per cent among the same people have a favourable view of the U.S.,” Poushter said.

A narrow majority of Canadian respondents expressed a “very” or “somewhat” favourable opinion of the United States — 51 per cent, up from 39 per cent in 2018. Some 47 per cent landed in the ”unfavourable” columns last year, down from 56 per cent the year before.

ALSO READ: Ukrainian airlines crash near Tehran kills 63 Canadians; 176 dead

Globally, 54 per cent of respondents reported a very or somewhat favourable view of the U.S., compared with 38 per cent who expressed unfavourable opinions.

“Overall, favourable views of the U.S. are higher than that of confidence in the U.S. president,” Poushter said. “There has been change over time, but right now there is a pretty large difference between U.S. image and confidence in the U.S. president, which wasn’t as large during the Obama presidency.”

The survey polled 36,963 respondents in 33 countries both by phone and in person between mid-May and October 2019. The Canadian portion consulted just over 1,000 people and carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ALSO READ: Iran retaliates with missiles in ‘slap’ at US bases in Iraq

More broadly, across the countries surveyed by Pew, a median of 64 per cent of respondents said they didn’t have confidence in Trump regarding world affairs, compared with 29 per cent who did. The sentiments were especially pronounced in western Europe and in Mexico, where fully 89 per cent said they lack confidence in the president.

The survey also asked respondents about some of Trump’s signature policy positions, including his strategy of levying tariffs on foreign imports to put pressure on trading partners — a tactic the self-proclaimed “Tariff Man” has used against a number of countries, including China, Mexico, the European Union and Canada.

That approach proved the least popular of the policies Pew asked about, with 68 per cent of respondents around the world expressing disapproval. The U.S. decision to pull out of international climate-change agreements earned the scorn of 66 per cent of those surveyed, while 60 per cent opposed the plan to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Tom Shypitka, pictured with his campaign team. on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. Trevor Crawley photo
Shypitka wins second term; BC NDP cruise to majority

“Election Days,” rather than “Election Day,” may be the more accurate term… Continue reading

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read