That may prove problematic for Trump, whose first year in the Oval Office was marked by a plunge in overseas approval ratings.
The median global approval rating of the job performance of U.S. leadership across 134 countries stood at a new low of 30 percent, according to a 2018 Gallup report. That was down nearly 20 points from the 48 percent approval rating in the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration, and 4 points lower than the previous low of 34 percent in the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration.
Trump’s average domestic approval rating — which hovers around 40 percent — is also lackluster when compared with his predecessor’s.
“An increase of one percentage point in net (American) leadership approval boosts (American) exports by around one one-hundredth of a percent,” Rose wrote. It’s an “economically large effect, given that swings in leadership approval are often over twenty percentage points, as occurred both when Obama succeeded Bush in 2009 or when Trump succeeded Obama in 2017.”
The economist noted that that calculation is conservative if countries that are large importers of American products also disapprove of Trump disproportionately.
The International Monetary Fund data cover bilateral trade between over 200 countries between 1948 and 2017, while Gallup’s rating metrics — a proxy for soft power in this study — provide annual percentages of approval and disapproval.
“The drop in foreign approval for leadership in 2017 compared with the eight previous years is a phenomenon unique to the United States,” the economist wrote, pointing to little changes in foreign perception of German, Chinese and Russian leadership over the past several year.