According to a Pew survey/study, supporters of "right-wing populist" parties (by which they mean e.g. UKIP, FN of France, Northern League in Italy, or AfD in Germany) have more confidence in Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs" compared to average person from the same European country (of that party).

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Given Trump's "America first" policy (or at least slogan), why would supporters of nationalistic parties in Europe trust Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs" (more than other Europeans do)? Are there any surveys or at least qualitative studies (like interviews etc.) among supporters of "right-wing populist" parties (as defined above) which shed any light on the reasons for this confidence?

(I can see UKIP being a special case here due to Trump promising post-Brexit trade deals with the UK etc. But what about the "right-wing populist" parties in the rest of the EU?)

  • If I'm reading the graph correctly, 59% of swedes, 65% of french, 44% of italians, 56% of dutch and 69% of german so called "supporters of right wing populist parties" hold ambigious views towards Trump, and have the relative majority of these groups, being more numerous than people being either favorable or against Trump. Only in the UK there'd be a clear majority towards Trump. Your premise is, as such, wrong. I could have misinterpreted the graph.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:51
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    By occasion - isn't term populist quite emotionally loaded and not specially accurate? Example: when German gov closed its nuclear plants and compensated that with imported electricity from fossil fuels (more expensive AND increased CO2 emission), while AfD was one of few oddballs who against public pressure claimed it was a bad move.
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:56
  • German Wikipedia disagrees with your assessment.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 10:03
  • @Jan: what do you mean (with that link)? Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 11:42
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    The title (though not the body) and some of the comments here dwell too much on "trust" in the honest vs. dishonest sense. Pretty much nobody trusts Trump in his personal capacity as an honest person (though some appreciate his bluntness), but they can still believe he'll do something they agree with when they largely agree with him in general.
    – gormadoc
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


I think that you are looking at too much rational level concerning people's reaction. Look a bit more at ideology:

  • Whoever shares your views (whichever they are), would seem to you be a nice, trustworthy person who would do lot's of good in the world. There would be also a grain of truth in it, as it would be easier to get on with like minded people. In the linked PEW research there were also data hard to explain by actual track record (but possible by tribal logic) why Obama had sky high popularity in the same countries.
  • Mainstream media bashing Trump for clicks and making breaking news out of every dumb tweet... while people voting those parties already nicely call mainstream media as ex. Lügenpresse (German: lying press) and consider as worthless propaganda. By virtue of not being bombarded with such clickbaits and simplified moral stories, where Trump is the main villain, they would have much more positive opinion about him than the rest of society.
  • Same perception of main global threats: mass migration and hollowing out of the economy by moving production abroad. I understand that from logic perspective it may look odd, but for a nationalists openly saying "[My country] first", sounds simply like expressing obvious, rational self interest and not sinister. So the guy is honest enough to say that for him interests of his country are the priority and is willing to actually deal with those global issues that electorate consider as the main problem.
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    "Are there any surveys or at least qualitative studies" is sort of key to the question; the above lacks references. I mean, the explanation "NAZIs like NAZIs" is really simple and obvious, but I don't think it is a good answer to the posed question, without citations of some kind.
    – Yakk
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 17:43
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    @Yakk The problem is that generally "studies" on this issue that I found were effectively "who radicalised you?" and "why are you so evil?". If you expect some so called "authoritative sources", I could provide you a link to WaPo opinion piece on "nationalist international", but personally have an impression that they don't understand the phenomena well: washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/…
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 18:53
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    Sure, but "I cannot answer this question with a good answer, because the information to do so does not exist" is a good response to a question you cannot find solid information on. The action item from that is then ... not answering the question.
    – Yakk
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 19:06
  • @Yakk The question suggest studies, but does not require them. In order not be in echo chamber I watch their "primary sources" from time to time, so I get the mindset quite well. The caveat that I'd put is, that I present general picture, while there should be some serious local differences, as at least in theory Alternative für Deutschland started as highly pro-free market party, while Front National had economically rather left wing agenda but supports protectionism. I don't know how it in practice translates to opinion on Trump.
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 19:32
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    @Obie2.0 Apparently German media published poll saying something like 20% of questioned use this term: welt.de/politik/deutschland/article148286129/… (in the West there seems to be a general collapse of trust in media, so I'd not be so sure about political views of people who use this term)
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 21:38

In addition to shared views and media effects, you should consider elite cueing: mass opinions are affected by the views of national (party) elites. There is quite some academic (also empirical) literature about it, e.g. here https://rubenson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/merkley-stecula.pdf (US) or here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026137941200128X (EU)

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