By Ilya Arkhipov and David Tweed

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspires little confidence when it comes to handling world affairs, a Pew Research Center survey showed. But he still outshines his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

“Although confidence in Putin’s handling of foreign affairs is generally low, in many countries he is more trusted than American President Donald Trump,” Pew wrote in a survey focused on Russia’s power and influence. Pew is a Washington-based non-partisan research group.

A median 60 percent of people in 37 countries, including the U.S., said they lack confidence in the Russian leader’s actions in world affairs, versus 26 percent who said he’s doing a good job. Pew didn’t provide matching statistics for Trump in a survey focused on Russia, but of the 36 countries canvassed on who they trust more, 22, including Germany, France and Japan, trust Putin more than Trump, according to the pollster’s 2017 spring survey.

The survey was conducted Feb. 16 to May 8, before Trump set global markets on edge in August by tweeting threats to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea should the hermit regime threaten U.S. territory with any of its intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also preceded Trump’s decision to sign a bill deepening sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The Kremlin retaliated by ordering the U.S. to slash staff at its diplomatic missions. 

Trump is still doing better than Putin in his own country. Pew said that 53 percent of the American public has confidence in Trump, versus 23 percent for Putin. About a third of the nations surveyed see Russia as a major threat to their country, similar to the level of concern caused by China and the U.S.

Trump edged out Putin in the confidence stakes in 13 countries, including the U.K., India and Israel. He also scored better in Ghana and the Philippines, where both leaders are expected to attend international summits later this year. The two leaders drew a dead heat in Tanzania. Results from the U.S., which was also part of the survey, weren’t included in this question, and China wasn’t polled.

Most Russians believe that Putin has improved their country’s standing in the world, Meanwhile, American and Russian views of each other have become less harsh. The number of Russians who view the U.S. favorably rose to 41 percent, from 15 percent in 2015, while 29 percent of Americans felt more favorably disposed toward Russia, up from 22 percent in 2015, Pew said.


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