The idea of the United States as a “shining city upon a hill” is most closely associated with President Ronald Reagan but has been used by politicians since the country’s earliest days.
The founding founders wanted America to be a beacon of freedom and democracy that would light the way for the rest of the world.
But it seems the brightness of that light has faded of late, with a new survey showing a significant and sudden drop in the number of people around the world who see the United States as having a positive influence.
A new Ipsos MORI poll of 18,000 respondents across 25 nations shows that only 40% think the US has a positive influence on the world stage. That's less than China at 49% and not far ahead of Russia at 35%.
The US ‘approval’ rating has dropped by 24 percentage points since last year's survey.
Canada is seen as setting the best example with 81% of respondents saying it has a positive influence on world affairs. Australia and Germany complete the top three.
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In Europe, amid the turmoil of Brexit, the EU and the United Kingdom are both seen as having a positive influence by 57% of respondents. While that’s the same result as last year for the EU, the UK’s rating has dropped by 10 points.
Israel and Iran are at the bottom of the ranking with only 32% and 21% of people respectively viewing their global influence in a positive light.
Ipsos MORI also asked about international organisations are when they are included in the results, it becomes clear that reputational damage is not confined to nation states.
While the United Nations ranks 4th, it has dropped 9 points since last year.
The World Bank and IMF have both experienced a 7 point drop in approval but still sit ahead of China and the United States.