More global confidence in Biden than Trump even as views of U.S. democracy decline, poll finds

FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and President Joe Biden toast during a state dinner, June 8, 2024 at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. A Pew survey of democracies around the world finds that views of the U.S. as a model for democracy are slipping and confidence in presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is on par with Russian President Vladmir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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Associated Press

People in 34 countries around the world have more confidence in President Joe Biden than his challenger in November’s election, former President Donald Trump, even as there is increased skepticism that United States democracy provides a good model for the rest of the world to follow, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center released Tuesday.

The poll found a median of 43% in the surveyed countries say they trust Biden to do the right thing in world affairs compared to 28% for Trump. People had a more positive assessment of Biden than Trump in 24 countries, while Trump led in Hungary and Tunisia and the two men were effectively tied in eight other countries.

The greater confidence in Biden comes as faith in U.S. democracy is waning. While a median of 54% in the 34 countries polled have positive views of the U.S., a median of 4 in 10 across the surveyed nations told the pollsters that its democracy used to be a good example for other countries to follow but no longer is.

A median of 21% said U.S. democracy remains a good example for other nations, while an almost identical share, 22%, said it never has been. Since the spring of 2021, the only other time Pew asked the question, the share of those who believe U.S. democracy is a good example has fallen in eight countries, mostly in Europe.

“People just don’t see the U.S. political system as functioning very well,” said Richard Wike, director of global attitudes research for Pew. “People see the U.S. as really divided along partisan lines.”

There is far less of a global divide between Trump and Biden. Confidence in the current president to do the right thing in world affairs has dropped since his first year in office but remains well above that of his rival, who had relatively low global ratings during his own presidency. Biden’s lowest confidence ratings were over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, with a median of 57% saying they had no confidence in it.

A median of 39% in the surveyed countries said they approved of Biden’s handling of the war in Ukraine, with his highest ratings in European nations. And a median of about four in 10 were confident in his handling of China.

Of the five leaders rated in the survey, French President Emmanuel Macron registered the highest level of confidence, just ahead of Biden, while Russian President Vladimir Putin received the lowest.

While confidence in Biden has dwindled in countries ranging from South Africa to Israel to the U.K., it remains steadily higher than that in Trump. The former president received his poorest assessments in Europe — where those expressing no confidence in him included more than eight in 10 adults in France, Germany and Sweden — and Latin America.

Africa, which Wike said tends to have positive views of U.S. presidents, registered some of Trump’s best numbers. Even in the two countries where more confidence was expressed in Trump than Biden, they were down on the former president. In Tunisia, for example, only 17% expressed confidence in him.

Hungary is the other country where adults report higher confidence in Trump than Biden, but even there it’s far from a ringing endorsement. Trump has embraced Hungary and its autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orbán, but only 37% in Hungary say they’re confident in him, compared to 24% for Biden.

The median level of confidence in Trump’s ability to do the right thing in world affairs was only slightly higher across the 34 countries than it was for Chinese President Xi Jinping.