The Guardian newspaper has asked a very important question as we speed-skate toward the US presidential vote:
“How does the rest of the world feel about the US election?”
One answer is similar to the American opinion: “polarized.”
The British newspaper reported that “Most people globally are keen to be rid of Trump. Yet a far-right minority like Trump and has become committed to him.”
A recent Pew Research poll of 13 countries found Trump was the least trusted world leader. Only 16% of the respondents said they had confidence in Trump “to do the right thing in terms of world affairs,” ranging from 9% in Belgium from 25% in Japan.
Even Xi Jinping (19%) and Vladimir Putin (23%) scored higher. And Trump’s incompetent Covid-19 response has pushed the reputation of both him and the US even further down.
In a recent YouGov poll in seven countries — Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden — only some 15% hope Trump will win.
Various far right politicians were quick to publicly express support when Trump was in the hospital with Covid-19 from members of Alternative for Germany to Finns Party.
Some far right leaders have been suspiciously timid in their public support for Trump in the past weeks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been uncharacteristically cautious, including during his recent visit to the White House. Undoubtedly, recent polling will play a role in Britain, as well as, perhaps, limited support for Trump among Indian Americans (22%) and Jewish Americans (30%), although both have increased slightly since 2016.
As in the US, much of the support for Biden in Europe seems to be more of a referendum against Trump. While only about 20% believe Biden would be a “good or great” president, more than two-thirds believe Trump has been a “poor or terrible” president.
Whatever the outcome of the election, it is important to remember that the rise of the far right did not start with Trump’s victory and it will not stop with Trump’s defeat (should the polls be right this time).
The rest of the world as well as the United States will just have to wait and see how the American election is resolved.