joe biden
Maxim Elramsisy/

With many people around the world closely watching the fiercely contested rematch between U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, a new Pew Research Center survey found that Biden is viewed more positively than his rival internationally. Across the 34 nations polled, a median of 43 percent have confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs, while only 28 percent have confidence in Trump. The gap between ratings is quite wide in many countries, especially in Europe.

Biden’s confidence rating is at least 40 percentage points higher than Trump’s in Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. However, there are exceptions. There is no statistically significant difference in Biden and Trump’s ratings in the eight nations surveyed. And people in Hungary and Tunisia give Trump more positive reviews than Biden, although neither leader gets especially high marks there. (The survey was conducted before Trump’s conviction in a state criminal trial in New York.) Even though Biden gets better assessments than Trump globally, ratings for the current U.S. president are down since last year in 14 of 21 countries where trends are available, including by double digits in Australia, Israel, Japan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The survey included a series of questions about how Biden is handling major international issues. Overall, opinions are divided on how he is dealing with climate change and global economic problems. Across the 34 countries polled, a median of around four in ten approve of how Biden is dealing with China and with the war between Russia and Ukraine (39 percent each). The president gets the most negative reviews on his handling of the Israel-Hamas war: A median of just 31 percent approve of the way he is handling the conflict, while 57 percent disapprove. (The survey was conducted prior to Biden announcing a proposal to end the conflict.) Six in ten Israelis disapprove of how Biden is handling the war, including 53% of Jewish Israelis and 86 percent of Arab Israelis.

Of the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, large majorities in Malaysia, Tunisia and Turkey also disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Opinions on this issue in Bangladesh are divided. The new survey finds that overall attitudes toward the United States are generally positive: A median of 54 percent across the nations polled have a favorable view of the U.S., while 31 percent have a negative opinion. However, criticisms of American democracy are common in many nations. We asked respondents whether U.S. democracy is a good example for other countries to follow, used to be a good example but has not been in recent years, or has never been a good example.

The predominant view in most countries is that the U.S. used to be a good model but has not been recently. Overall, a median of 21 percent believe it is currently a good example, while 22 percent say it has never been a good model for other countries.

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