All Eyes on American Presidential Elections

What is the opinion of Italy and other Western countries about the United States, its current President and his challenger to the White House? How have the actions implemented by the Trump administration been evaluated in these four years, particularly in foreign policy?

These are some of the questions posed by WIN International, the leading international association in market research and opinion polls of which BVA Doxa is part, to citizens of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States of America) and Argentina, Peru and Spain. While opinions differ on different global policies, most countries agree in rejecting Donald Trump overall and expressing a clear preference for Joe Biden. This opinion is also widely shared among Italian citizens, interviewed by BVA Doxa.

“The most important elections in American history”. This is how many experts describe the presidential election of the United States of America on November 3rd. WIN survey – whose Italian side was handled by BVA Doxa – seems to confirm this statement: all 10 countries examined are very interested in the developments that will lead to the election of the new American president. Specifically, more than 7 out of 10 citizens are interested in the outcome of the elections, especially in Germany (85%[1]). Even if less relevant, attention was also high in Italy, where 68% of our fellow citizens are following the upcoming elections with interest.

HIGHER APPROVAL RATE FOR BIDEN – With the American elections approaching, the survey shows that the reputation of the United States is particularly low among the G7 countries, with a good opinion – excluding the United States itself – shared by 33% of countries (38% in Italy), and with Canada (25%) and Germany (22%) being the most negative countries.

When considering this elections’ candidates, however, the analysis focuses on the Trump vs Biden competition, from which emerges a clear victory, in terms of satisfaction, for the former Vice President. In all the countries involved, the level of approval for Donald Trump is in fact particularly low, especially in Germany and France (83% in both countries have a bad opinion of Trump), Canada (81%) and the United Kingdom (80%). Less extreme, even if always negative, the Italian result: 61% of our fellow citizens express a bad opinion on the President in office.

On the other hand, there is a greater consensus for Joe Biden: outside the United States, Canada, France and Germany express more favorable impressions. However, unlike Trump, the responses show a high rate of indecisions regarding the Democratic candidate: many, despite Biden’s very long political career, still did not make up their minds about him yet. In Italy, Joe Biden is appreciated by 27%, 15% expressed an unfavorable opinion and as many as 59% were unable to answer the question.

FOREIGN COUNTRIES WOULD GO FOR BIDEN, BUT WHAT WILL THE US DO? – And if you were to vote, who would you vote for? The question posed in the poll leaves no doubt: if in these countries it was possible to vote for the next American President, blue – the color of the Democrats – would prevail and Joe Biden would be elected the new President of the United States, with a clear preference shown – one more time – by Canada (68%) and Germany (66%). In Italy, the preferences for Joe Biden are 42% and for Donald Trump 15%. However, the United States will be the one voting, where good opinion and bad opinion about Biden were tied at 42% apiece.

It is clear that all the countries involved are deeply interested in the results of the next US elections – said Vilma Scarpino, President of the WIN International AssociationIf these countries had a vote in the elections, former Vice President Joe Biden would be the clear choice, but we will have to wait and see what US voters decide on election night”.

TRUM ADMINISTRATION’S INTERNATIONAL POLICIES WERE HIGHLY DISAPPROVED – The survey focused on some of Donald Trump’s most controversial foreign policy decisions.

No doubts about the most contested and disapproved political action: all countries are harshly criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international climate agreement. Italians are also clearly aligned: 73% express their disapproval to the decision of the American President.

Equally criticized was the decision to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, for many the “wall of shame”: almost 70% of Italians expressed disapproval. In Italy, the decision to impose fees on goods imported from Canada has also generated particular dissent (62% of Italians are against).

Other policies have generated more favorable responses, such as the decision to negotiate with North Korea on its nuclear program, approved by 45% of the citizens of the G7 countries and by 36% only for Italy.

Italians also seem to have welcomed the decision to withdraw American troops from Germany, seen by many experts as a dare to Berlin: 45% of these approved the decision.

Trump’s other actions are generically contested by two out of five Italians: they range from stopping the TPP – the trans-Pacific agreement – (contested by 40% of Italians), to withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear agreement (44%), from Chinese import fees (44%) to the immigration policies (46%).

[1] A lot + somewhat interested. The question was posed with a 4 points scale.

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