Foreign and Security Policy

Changing Views of and in the United States

Internationally, confidence in the U.S. president has increased significantly from Trump to Biden. At the end of Trump’s term, only 17% of polled publics in 16 different countries were confident in the U.S. president, whereas this year, 75% said they were. Similarly, confidence in the U.S. president’s ability to manage international affairs increased.

Jacob Poushter, Associate Director, Global Attitudes Research, Pew Research Center, presented these and other insights from the latest Pew survey results.

Most of the polled international publics do not think that the U.S. is taking their country’s interest into account when making foreign policy decisions. In Germany, about half of respondents, 51%, thought so.

Domestically, President Biden’s approval rating had decreased significantly: 44% of Americans approved of the job Biden is doing, which is worse than presidents Bush and Obama fared during the same timeframe in their terms, and down from 54% at the beginning of his time in office. His approval rating is similar to that of President Clinton and higher than President Trump’s. According to Poushter, lower approval ratings for presidents have become more common: the deep polarization in American politics means that presidents now rarely get above 55%.

In Biden’s case, the 10% decline in approval since the beginning of his term is to a large degree due to foreign policy – a policy area that is “generally not the top priority for Americans,” says Poushter. Yet, 69% of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, feel that the U.S. has failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan and 42% say that the Biden administration has done a poor job handling the crisis in Afghanistan.

You can take a closer look at the survey findings in this Pew Research Center Slide Show.

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