Trump and Obama
Trump and ObamaReuters

While most countries around the world saw sharp declines in the level of confidence in the White House since the transfer of power on January 20th from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, Israelis seem to be more optimistic about American leadership since President Trump took office.

According to a Pew Research Center survey published on Monday, most countries around the world saw significant declines in the number of people who said they felt confident in the US president and his ability to “do the right thing regarding world affairs”.

Western and Northern European countries, for instance, which had given President Obama high marks at the end of his presidency in 2016, showed some of the most dramatic declines.

In France, for instance, where 84% said they felt confidence in President Obama in 2016, just 14% said they were confident about President Trump’s leadership in 2017. The decline was even steeper in Germany, where the level fell from 86% in 2016 to 11% in 2017.

In Spain, 75% expressed confidence in Obama in 2016, but just 7% felt confident in President Trump a year later. Among Swedes, 93% said they were confident in Obama’s leadership, compared to just 10% who said the same about Trump’s. In the UK, 22% said they were confident in President Trump, compared to 79% who were confident in President Obama.

Trump addressed NATO shortly after his inauguration, warned them to increase defense spending and chastised member countries for not paying their way, leaving the US to foot the bill.

Outside Western and Northern Europe, the drop off in confidence was less marked, often due to declines in President Obama’s own numbers towards the end of his second term.

In India, 40% say they are confident in President Trump, compared to 58% who said they were confident in Obama in 2016 – a 16 point drop from 2015.

In Nigeria, confidence in the US president fell just five points during the Obama-Trump transition, from 63% to 58%.

Middle Eastern states, which gave the White House low marks under Obama, showed even less confidence in Trump. Jordanian confidence in the president fell just 5 points, from 14% in 2015 to 9% in 2017, while Lebanese respondents showed a sharped decline, from 36% confidence in 2015 to 15% in 2017.

The relatively low figures in the Middle East correlate with overall low favorability numbers for the US in the region, a pattern which predates the Trump administration. In Jordan, for example, just 15% said they have a favorable view of the US – an increase since the Obama administration. In 2015, just 14% said they had a favorable view. In fact, the figure has remained mired in the mid-teens for the past five years. Since the year 2000, no more than 25% of Jordanians ever expressed a favorable view of the US, and at times, America’s favorability sank to as low as 1%.

One notable exception, however, to the low marks both the US and President Trump received in the Middle East is Israel.

While nearly all countries saw declines in the level of confidence in the White House, Israelis became more confident, with 56% saying they had confidence in President Trump, compared to just 49% who said the same about Obama in 2015. Israeli Jews were more likely than Israeli Arabs to express confidence in President Trump, with 64% of Jews saying they were confident in his leadership, compared to just 25% of Arabs.

If taken separately, Israeli Jews showed the second highest level of confidence in the Trump White House, after the Philippines at 69%.

America’s favorability level also remains high in Israel at 81% compared to 81% in 2015, 72% in 2011, 71% in 2009, and 78% in 2007. Only the Vietnamese showed a higher level of support for the US, at 84%, compared to 78% in 2015.

Among Israeli Jews, the numbers are even higher, with 89% saying they have a favorable view of the US, compared to just 51% of Israeli Arabs.

Israelis are also among the most supportive nationality worldwide of President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico. Forty-two percent of Israelis said they backed the plan to build a border wall, compared to 44% who said they disapproved. Only Jordanians showed a higher level of support, with 44% backing the wall and 46% opposing it.

In Europe, opposition to the border wall plan hit the low to mid-90s in some states. In Sweden 93% say they oppose the border wall proposal, compared to 93% in Germany, 91% in the Netherlands and Spain, 90% in France, and 90% in the UK. Shortly after his inauguration, Trump said that Europe is a "horrible mess" due to its immigration poicies.

Aside from Israel, confidence in American leadership rose only in one other country: Russia. While confidence climbed 7% in Israel, in surged by 42 points in Russia, from 11% in 2015 to 53% in 2017 – the highest level on record since the survey began asking the question in 2001.

Support for the US also climbed significantly during the transition, rising from 15% in 2015 to 41% in 2017, the highest level since 2013, when 51% of Russians said they had a favorable view of the US.