America is a nation obsessed with political approval ratings like no other. But the U.S. media seems ignorant to the fact that President Trump is currently one of the most popular leaders of a major Western nation in the world today.
Guffaw if you like, but those who are both regarded and regard themselves as “better” leaders have lower numbers than the American president — and while his are trending up, some of theirs are in free fall.
When Barack Obama left the world stage, having commanded a mid-40s average approval rating over the course of his presidency, the New York Times declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be the liberal West’s “last defender.”
Less than two years later, after an election upset and an ensuing struggle to form a government, Merkel is horribly bruised and close to being ousted by her coalition partners in Germany. Both for having encouraged mass inward migration to her country, and failing to come up with a solution once the Germans figured out it wasn’t working for them.
More to the point, her approval rating stinks.
In 2013 Merkel attracted an over 70 per cent approval rating — the stuff of presidential dreams. By early 2016 she found herself in the mid 40s, most recently attracting a rating of about 50 per cent.
This is notionally higher than President Trump (42 per cent average). But Trump’s ratingfits broadly into the average since Obama took office — especially when you factor in the backdrop of an often hysterically hostile media, a major FBI investigation, as well as an intransigent opposition party. Merkel has none of these excuses, yet her popularity has plummeted while Trump’s has steadily risen.
Now, 18 months on from the declaration of Merkel’s “flair” and “deftness,” the New York Times published her political obituary, entitled “The Tragedy of Angela Merkel.”
The same trend is evident in France, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
France elected a so-called “centrist” in Emmanuel Macron, who has used his presidency thus far to attempt to balance his own liberalism while trying to withstand mounting (though disorganized) pressure from the political right. According to his numbers, it isn’t working.
While elected just over a year ago with 66 per cent of the French vote, Macron now sits at just 32 per cent.
His grandiose mannerisms, tax hikes, and opposition to European populism have found him on the receiving end of sharp criticism – even from allies in his own movement.
According to French newspaper L’Express, one of his own allies — a member of the French parliament — said: “Emmanuel Macron is a capricious prince, despotic and cruel. That does not mean that he cannot be a great prince. He really speaks to the nation… But his daily reactions are worrying.”
If only such exciting descriptions could be made of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, who is only kept ahead against the Labour Party in the polls due to the polarizing, hardline socialist nature of the opposition and the left-wing party’s rife anti-Semitism problem and economic illiteracy.