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

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read