Few of the 17 advanced economies trust Putin
The global image of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been consistently low for years in many countries, and a Pew Research Center survey this summer in 17 advanced economies shows negative views towards him are at or near historic highs. in most places. Today, a median of 22% say they trust Putin to do the right thing in world affairs, compared to a median of 74% who say they don’t.
Singapore (55%), Greece (55%), Italy (36%) and Taiwan (34%) stand out as the only places surveyed where around a third or more say they trust the Russian president. Trust is lowest in Sweden (14%) and the United States (16%). In these two countries, as well as in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and Belgium, at least 45% or more say they do not trust at all In him.
While confidence in Putin has been fairly low in many countries for much of the past decade, especially after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 – it fell further last year in Australia (-7 percentage points).
This analysis focuses on public attitudes towards Russian President Vladimir Putin in 17 advanced economies in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For non-U.S. Data, the report relies on nationally representative surveys by the Pew Research Center of 16,254 adults from March 12 to May 26, 2021, in 16 advanced economies. All surveys were conducted by telephone with adults in Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
In the United States, we surveyed 2,596 American adults from February 1 to 7, 2021. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited by the national, random polls. sampling of residential addresses. This way, almost all American adults have a chance to be selected. The survey is weighted to be representative of the adult United States population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories.
This study was conducted in locations where nationally representative telephone or online surveys are feasible. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, face-to-face interviews are currently not possible in many parts of the world.
Here are the questions used for this analysis, as well as the answers. Consult our methodological database for more information on survey methods outside the United States. For respondents in the United States, learn more about the ATP methodology. Information on the categorization of populist parties can be found here.
In many places surveyed, young people trust Putin more than their older counterparts. By far the largest difference is in Japan (44 percentage points between the youngest and oldest respondents), although there are differences of at least 20 points in the UK, Spain, Australia, France and New Zealand. Although the difference is smaller in the United States, Americans under 30 are also more likely to trust Putin, with around one-fifth of those aged 18 to 29 saying so, compared to just 9% of those aged 65 and over. more.
These age-related patterns often prevailed in Putin’s views. And when it comes to opinion about Russia in general, young adults also tend to have a more favorable opinion of the country than older people.
In some countries, men trust Putin more than women. For example, in Germany 36% of men say they trust Putin to do the right thing in world affairs, while only 19% of women agree. Double-digit differences are also present in France, Italy and Belgium, while gender differences are smaller in Canada, Spain and New Zealand. The less educated also trust Putin more than the more educated in around half of the countries surveyed. In Italy, for example, around a quarter of people with a post-secondary degree or more trust Putin, while nearly four in ten of those without a post-secondary degree trust him. Similar differences persist in eight other countries surveyed.
In Europe, supporters of populist parties, both right and left, are more likely to trust Putin than those who do not support these parties. For example, in Italy, those with a favorable opinion of the right-wing Lega are more than twice as likely to trust Putin as those with an unfavorable opinion (62% vs. 26%, respectively). The same goes for Forza Italia supporters – about half trust Putin to do the right thing, while about a quarter of non-supporters say the same.
In the United States, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents tend to trust Putin more than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (20% versus 12%, respectively). Yet overwhelming majorities in both parties lack confidence in Putin.
More generally, in some countries, people who identify as ideologically right-wing are more likely than those on the left to trust Putin. The biggest difference is, again, in Italy, where a majority (56%) of those on the right say they trust Putin while only 19% of those on the left agree. In Sweden, Greece, France, Canada, Germany, Australia, UK and US there are also double digit differences between right and left.
When it comes to comparisons with other world leaders, confidence in Putin is significantly lower than that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. Still, his grades are fairly comparable – and slightly better in some of the European countries surveyed – to those of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Trust in Xi and trust in Putin are closely related: places with higher levels of trust in one also tend to have higher levels of trust in the other. The opposite is true for Merkel – places with higher levels of trust in Merkel tend to have less trust in Putin.
Note: Here are the questions used for this analysis, along with the answers. Consult our methodological database for more information on survey methods outside the United States. For respondents in the United States, learn more about the ATP methodology. Information on the categorization of populist parties can be found here.
Laura Silver is a senior researcher specializing in global research at the Pew Research Center.
JJ Moncus is a research assistant specializing in global attitudes research at the Pew Research Center.