ICM’s View: What do Brits think of Trump?
Back in July, we wanted to see what the British public thought of President Trump before his visit to these shores.
We started by asking if the British public supported the visit. Given we asked a very similar question when the visit was first announced back in April, we concluded that, if anything, opposition to the visit had increased. Whereas around 3 in 10 of the British public (31%) opposed the visit back in April, this hadincreased to over a third (35%) in opposition to Trump’s visit by the start of July.
It may not come as a surprise that most of the British public are negative towards Trump, with a majority of those expressing an opinion actively disagreeing with most of the positive statements about Trump we suggested in the poll. Excluding those who don’t know, two-thirds (66%) would not like to see a politician like Trump as British Prime Minister, with the same proportion agreeing that Trump has made the world a more dangerous place. A similar proportion (64%) did not think he is generally honest and reliable at telling the truth. Of those expressing a view, a majority (57%) did not think Trump is good for the UK or is doing a good job as US President (56%).
Despite some negative views on Brexit and the country’s political leadership emerging from our recent polls, it’s clear that Brits overall didn’t think Trump would do any better as British Prime minister. While almost a third of those expressing a view thought Trump would make a success of Brexit if he were British PM, a majority disagreed with the claim. And despite recent speculation on Theresa May’s leadership, Brits still think she is a better leader than Trump. Excluding those answering ‘don’t know’, 1 in 4 (25%) agreed that Trump is a better leader than May, compared to 48% who disagree with the claim.
Perhaps most scathingly of all, more Brits agreed than disagreed with the statement ‘I think Trump only won the US election because of Russian support’. With the FBI enquiry still ongoing, it would appear that us Brits are sceptical at best on how Trump came to win the 2016 Presidential election against Hillary Clinton.
It’s revealing to break down these results by EU referendum vote. Doing so shows that leavers are much more positive about Trump than remainers – and moreover, that it appears to be EU referendum vote rather than which party voted for at the previous General Election that is more closely related to views on Trump.
As an example, for both Labour and Conservative voters at 2017, a similarly low proportion agreed that Trump is a better leader than May (25% and 27% of those expressing a view respectively). Yet there’s a much bigger bap between leavers and remainers on the same measure (36% vs. 15%), and this gap exists within both parties’ voter bases – with more than double the proportion of both Tory leavers (34%) and Labour leavers (40%) thinking May is better than Trump compared to Tory remainers (13%) and Labour remainers (17%) .
And when directly linking Trump and Brexit, a majority (51%) of leavers expressing a view think Trump would make a success of Brexit as British PM, compared to only 17% of remainers.
ICM’s view: the British public are clearly more critical than supportive of Trump, and this holds across most sub-groups within the British population. But sentiment towards Trump appears to be more strongly related to EU referendum vote than support for either of the main parties. This is one example of where Brexit – and the views and considerations its brought to the surface – could be more important than party support in today’s politics.
The above analysis is based off the ICM/Guardian poll conducted between 6th – 9th July 2018. To read the full write up at the time, as well as full data tables, click here.
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