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Gallup Surveys Show Rebound in Approval of US Leadership


President Joe Biden meets with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (not seen) at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 20, 2021, in New York.

Approval for U.S. leadership rebounded during the first six months of President Joe Biden’s administration, according to a Gallup survey of people in nearly 50 countries.

The increase came after median approval of U.S. leadership in 108 countries where Gallup conducted surveys hit a record low of 30% in 2020, the last year of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Median Global Approval of U.S. Leadership
Median Global Approval of U.S. Leadership

Gallup, a Washington, D.C.-based analytics company, said its 2021 data is not yet complete, but in 46 countries where data was available as of early August, approval for U.S. leadership was up to 49%.

Approval numbers fell in three countries, declining from 18% to 13% in Russia, 20% to 16% in Serbia and 54% to 50% in Benin.

Approval of U.S. Leadership – by country
Approval of U.S. Leadership – by country

Approval for U.S. leadership was sharply higher in 2021 from 2020 in several European nations, increasing 52 percentage points in Portugal, 45 points in the Netherlands and 41 points in Sweden. U.S. leadership’s approval also jumped from 17% to 55% in U.S. neighbor Canada, with double-digit increases also seen in Germany, Italy, France and Japan.

Gallup pointed to different U.S. approaches to engaging with the world under the Trump and Biden administrations. Trump promoted his preference for “America first” policies, while Biden has sought to work more closely with other countries.

“These words and actions likely reassured many longtime U.S. allies and the international community at large and help explain the surge in approval ratings across most of the 46 countries and territories surveyed through the first half of 2021,” Gallup said.

Even with the higher approval ratings, the United States was still a distant second in several regions when compared to some of its peers.

Global Leadership Ratings
Global Leadership Ratings

When Gallup asked whether people approved of the leadership of the U.S., Germany, China and Russia, it was Germany that ranked first among respondents in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The United States ranked first only in Africa, with its 53% approval just ahead of Germany’s 49%.

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