WASHINGTON — Canadians have a far more positive view of the United States and its place in the world now that Joe Biden is president, a new poll suggests — the polar opposite of how they felt at the end of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House.
The global Pew Research Center study released Thursday points to strikingly similar shifts in sentiment elsewhere around the world in the months since Biden took over the Oval Office.
Among the 1,011 Canadians who took part in the survey, the percentage of those with a favourable view of the U.S. hit 61 per cent, up from 35 per cent last year — a finding that largely mirrors the median result across 12 countries that were surveyed in both years.
Some 77 per cent of Canadian participants also said they were confident Biden would do the right thing regarding world affairs, compared with just 20 per cent who felt the same way about Trump last year. Again, that result was in line with the broader international findings.
The Canadian portion of the telephone survey was conducted in English and French between March 15 and May 3 and carries a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
“Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, publics around the world held the United States in low regard, with most opposed to his foreign policies. This was especially true among key American allies and partners,” Pew said in a news release.
“The election of Joe Biden as president has led to a dramatic shift in America’s international image.”
The survey was released just as world leaders gathered in the United Kingdom for the first G7 summit of the Biden era, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first foreign trip since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
That summit will include two other leaders whose foreign-policy favourables are comparable to Biden’s: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who earned a positive impression from 77 per cent of respondents across 16 countries, and French President Emmanuel Macron, at 63 per cent.
By way of comparison, Russian President Vladimir Putin earned the confidence of just 23 per cent of respondents, while only 20 per cent said the same of China’s Xi Jinping.
More than 80 per cent of participants in Canada also gave a thumbs up to several Biden foreign policy initiatives, including rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement, as well as his plan to host a summit on the future of democracy.
Allowing more refugees into the U.S. found favour with about three-quarters of Canadian respondents.
And where a whopping 93 per cent of Canadians described Trump as arrogant in a 2017 survey, only 11 per cent felt the same way about Biden in 2021. Similarly, where 72 per cent described the previous president as dangerous four years ago, 15 per cent say the same of his successor.
When asked about the U.S. as an international partner, 68 per cent of Canadians surveyed said described it as very or somewhat reliable, while 32 per cent called the Americans “not too reliable” or “not at all reliable.”
Only 39 per cent described the U.S. political system as working very or somewhat well, compared with 60 per cent who said the opposite.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.
James McCarten, The Canadian Press