Majority of Americans say Trump has damaged US standing in the world, Independent poll reveals

Harriet Alexander
·3 min read
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, pictured at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017. The majority of US voters feel that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the world and made them less safe (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, pictured at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017. The majority of US voters feel that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the world and made them less safe (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

The majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump has harmed the standing of the US in the world, according to an exclusive new poll commissioned by the Independent.

Fifty one per cent of respondents felt that the president had harmed the reputation of the country, and 36 per cent felt that he had improved it.

Mr Trump has been attacked by his critics for withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement — something Joe Biden said he would reverse on his first day in office — and for fostering tense relations with traditional allies such as Canada, France and Germany. 

His critics further accuse him of cosying up to dictators, mocking him for telling a press conference that he believed Vladimir Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence agencies, and worrying that his actions in Syria — where he rapidly withdrew US troops and left the Kurds stranded, at the request of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan — have concerned America’s military allies.

They also note his much-publicised meetings with Kim Jong-un have not yielded results — although arguably they have prevented further escalation.

His supporters praise his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, his moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and his efforts to make Nato members pay their fare share.

The poll, carried out for the Independent by JL Partners,  surveyed 1,002 Americans from 26 October to 28 October.

Respondents also felt that Mr Trump had made the US less safe.

The same number that thought Mr Trump had reduced America’s standing in the world — 51 per cent — believed he had made the US more at risk. Thirty four per cent said that Mr Trump had made America safer.

Only a third of voters said that Mr Trump had made America great again, with 52 per cent disagreeing.

Mr Trump’s approach to race relations and divisions within the United States were also met with disapproval.

After a summer dominated by racial unrest the likes of which have not been seen since the 1960s, sparked by the 25 May killing of George Floyd, Mr Trump has made “law and order” a frequent refrain, and has accused Mr Biden of being soft on crime.

The killing on Monday in Philadelphia of Walter Wallace, a mentally disturbed Black man armed with a knife shot dead by police, was acknowledged by the White House with a statement which did not name Wallace. Instead they said his killing was “the most recent consequence of the Liberal Democrats’ war against the police.”

Yet his approach has not gone down well with most Americans.

Only 31 per cent felt he was good for America on race relations, while 53 per cent disagreed.

Even fewer — 25 per cent — felt Mr Trump made America less divided, and 56 per cent disagreed. 

Amongst current Trump voters, 54 per cent agreed and 17 per cent disagreed.

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