Kiwis really don't like Donald Trump - poll

Donald Trump's leadership is viewed around the world about as favourably as that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new poll.

And he's doing even worse in New Zealand.

The only silver lining for the controversial US President is that his popularity is no longer in freefall, says Gallup.

In its latest world leadership poll, only 31 percent approve of Mr Trump's leadership, compared to 30 percent who back Mr Putin - whose administration is regularly criticised for curtailing free speech, rigging elections and imprisoning political opponents.

China has also overtaken the US in the world's eyes, with 34 percent approval. Leading the pack amongst the world's powers is Germany, with 39 percent approval.

World leadership polling over the past decade.
World leadership polling over the past decade. Photo credit: Gallup.

"The stagnant, low approval rating of 31 percent for the US in 2018 suggests that the doubts sowed in Trump's first year about US commitments abroad have taken root - and the unpredictability of the US President is now somewhat expected," wrote Gallup's Julie Ray.

"But even if some view this unpopularity as a byproduct of putting America first, it has provided an opening for China and Russia to assert their global influence."

Except for a brief moment in 2011, the US had the highest approval ratings of any world power between 2009 and 2016, when Barack Obama was President. Germany led in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2017.

Russia has been on the upswing in recent years, rising from 22 percent in 2014 - when it invaded Ukraine - to 30 percent today.

Mr Trump's image in New Zealand is poor, but improving - he now has 19 percent approval, four points higher than a year ago. A whopping 69 percent disapprove. He's a bit more popular across the ditch, with 23 percent support in Australia, also up 4 percent.

Donald Trump gestures during a press conference earlier this week.
Donald Trump gestures during a press conference earlier this week. Photo credit: Reuters

Mr Trump's worst approval ratings came from a number of Muslim majority nations including the Palestinian Territories, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan and Turkey. Other countries where he's not viewed favourably include Russia, Sweden, Chile, Canada, and most of all Norway, where he has an 87 percent disapproval rating.

Kosovo and Albania are the only European countries that have a positive view of Mr Trump, and the Dominican Republic the only American nation. Germany is actually the most popular world power in the Americas, with 35 percent approval to the United States' 31.

"Maybe this isn't a bad thing - doing what's right isn't always popular," said Gallup global managing partner Jon Clifton. "President Donald Trump's America First foreign policy wasn't designed to win friends around the globe."

But, as unpopular as Trump is in Europe, they hate Mr Putin even more - Russia scored only 11 percent approval across the continent, which for decades lived in fear of the former Communist dictatorship on their doorstep. The US has 24 percent.

Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin. Photo credit: Getty

Mr Trump is a bit more popular in Asia and parts of the Middle East, with Israel, the Philippines, Mongolia, Nepal and Myanmar all showing support. North Koreans unsurprisingly weren't surveyed.

Despite accusations of racism levelled at the President, he's most popular in Africa - where more than half the countries give him a net positive rating. Top is Togo, where he has 72 percent approval. Across the continent he's at 52 percent - well below Mr Obama's 2009 peak of 85 percent, but about the same as Mr Obama's 2016 result of 53 percent.

Gallup interviewed about 134,000 people across the world come up with the latest results.