From Pew surveys, Trump seems quite unpopular in (continental) Europe; in 2019 he seems to poll lowest in Germany even among that group:

enter image description here

Also, a more recent (dpa) poll focused on Germans' opinions:

Germans were asked who was more dangerous: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Russian President Vladimir Putin or US President Donald Trump.

Some 41% of Germans said they thought Trump was the most dangerous out of the five world leaders.

In second place was Kim with 17%, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8%. Coming in last was China's Xi with 7%.

A similar YouGov poll was carried out in July last year, in which 48% of Germans surveyed said Trump was more dangerous than Kim and Putin. That poll, however, did not include the leaders of Iran or China.

Clearly Trump has threatened Germans with slapping tariffs on their cars (when imported to the US) and Trump has supported Brexit, but that seems a bit of a simplistic explanation... Are there some polls asking why Germans dislike Trump so much (and/or consider him so dangerous)? (Regarding close votes: I'm not asking for SE user's opinions. Asking for poll data is quite accepted here.)

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    I can't even begin to think of a way to answer this that wouldn't be highly subjective. I'm American, but I've lived in the UK now for 4 years. I have a lot of personal experience with asking people their opinions (receiving them even when I didn't ask), and a ton of reading. But, if you're looking for an objective answer, I'm not sure you're going to find much of one. I doubt anyone's done research studies as it isn't particularly important WHY the rest of the world dislikes a foreign leader, simply that they DO is enough. Thoughts on what you are hoping to find?
    – AHamilton
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 12:54
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    Comments deleted. Please note that comments on questions are not to be used for debate or to answer the question. For more information on how comments on questions should be used, please review the help article about the commenting privilege.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 14:27
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    @BurnsBA: the title is by necessity concise. That people don't read the body of the question before answering is another matter... But I've actually edited the title now as well. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 20:21
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    While there might be polls on why Germans dislike Trump, I would argue no accurate results can be obtained because any statistical analysis would be based on multiple choice questions, and the incredible number of reasons for which people dislike Trump is so high that I doubt they could all be accounted for in a single questionnaire. I cannot even remember of all of things he's said that alone would turn me against ever voting for him.
    – Caston
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 10:19
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    Subjective comment: Most Europe's traditional right wing parties (center right) have policies closer to the Democrats in the US. E.g. it would be political suicide to not promote free healthcare for all in Europe publicly (even if under the hood some parties may want to weaken it). Generally in moderate EU, Republicans are seen as extremist that we would never vote for. Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 16:09

5 Answers 5


It's hard to provide an objective answer since this is a question mostly about emotions and everyone has his anecdotes. Since pretty much all answers here do not have any citations or references, it's likely that they are all colored by subjective perception.

I'll try to provide some objective data, though it will undoubtedly still be colored by my personal opinion:

According to one poll from cicero questioning 2088 people:

Bei den Wählern der AfD sind die Zustimmungswerte für Trump mit 52,9 Prozent mit deutlichem Abstand am höchsten, am niedrigsten sind sie bei den Wählern von Bündnis90/Die Grünen (2,9 Prozent). 81 Prozent der befragten CDU/CSU-Wähler lehnen Trump ausdrücklich ab, ebenso wie 84,6 Prozent der befragten SPD-Wähler und 78,3 Prozent der FDP-Wähler. Bei den Wählern der Linkspartei sprachen sich hingegen lediglich 72,5 Prozent der Befragten ausdrücklich gegen Trump aus.
Demnach sehen 36,7 Prozent der Muslime den neuen US-Präsidenten positiv, bei den Katholiken hingegen nur 9,9 % und bei den Protestanten 11,3 Prozent. Weniger als die Hälfte der befragten Muslime (47,7 Prozent) lehnt Trump ausdrücklich ab; bei den Katholiken liegt dieser Wert bei 71,4 Prozent und bei den Protestanten bei 73,6 Prozent.

My translation, annotations about the parties in brackets are mine. Seats in the "Bundestag" (Parliament) from Wikipedia:

Of the voters, the approval rating among the AfD [far right party, 89 seats (12.6%)] voters are by far the highest with 52.9 percent. The lowest approval rating is among the voters of Bündnis90/Die Grünen [green party, 67 seats (9.4%)] (2.9 percent). 81 percent of the CDU/CSU [christian democrats, center right, 246 seats (34.7%)] explicitly refuse Trump, just like 84.6 percent of the SPD [social democrats, center left party, 152 seats (21.4%)] voters and 78.3 percent of the FDP [economic liberal party, 80 seats (11.3%)] voters. Among the voters of the Linkspartei [left party, 69 seats (9.7%)] only 72.5 percent refused Trump.
36.7 percent of the muslims view the US president positively, among the catholics only 9.9 percent and the protestants 11.3 percent. Less than 47.7 percent of the muslims explicitly reject Trump; among the catholics it's 71.4 percent and for the protestants 73.6 percent.

So in summary:

  • The greens really dislike Trump
  • Centrist parties, both left and right, are numerically his biggest opponents
  • The isolationist, anti-EU AfD has the highest approval rating for Trump, but almost half of them still dislike him

So correlating from that data:

  • Trump is disliked for his ecologic policies, mostly likely for rejecting the Paris accord and his stance on climate change
  • Anti-refugee parties (AfD) approve of him more than pro-refugee parties (Everyone else, to some degree), so his stance on refugees and immigration is probably a factor
  • Parties favoring stability (centrists) disagree more with him than parties that favor change, so his unusual behavior appears to be a point of contention among Germans, who tend to vote for centrist parties

I have difficulty figuring out reasons for the religious approval rating since his anti-muslim stance should lead to higher disapproval among muslims, but the opposite is the case. It should be noted however that religion in Germany plays a very minor role among Christians, especially outside of the state of Bavaria.

Taking another poll from YouGov for the DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur/German Press Agency):

US-Präsident Donald Trump wird in Deutschland als größere Gefahr für den Weltfrieden wahrgenommen als Russlands Staatschef Wladimir Putin oder der nordkoreanische Machthaber Kim Jong Un. Nach einer Umfrage des Meinungsforschungsinstituts YouGov im Auftrag der Deutschen Presse-Agentur (DPA) wird Trump auch für gefährlicher gehalten als das politische und religiöse Oberhaupt des Irans, Ajatollah Ali Chamenei, und Chinas Präsident Xi Jinping.
41 Prozent der Befragten sagten, Trump sei von diesen fünf Persönlichkeiten die größte Gefahr für den Weltfrieden. 17 Prozent entschieden sich für Kim, jeweils 8 Prozent für Putin und Chamenei sowie 7 Prozent für Xi

Translation again mine

US president Donald Trump is viewed in Germany as a bigger danger for world peace than Russian president Vladimir Putin or the Northkorean Leader Kim Jong Un. In a Poll from YouGov for the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) Trump is viewed as more dangerous than the political and religios leader of Iran, Ajatolla Ali Chamenei, and Chinas president Xi jinping.
41 percent of the respondents answered that Trump was the biggest danger for world peace among those five leaders. 17 percent decided for Kim, 8 percent each for Putin and Chamenei and 7 percent for Xi

This leads me to the conclusion that his erratic behavior, combined with his power to actually mess up the world peace as the leader of the country with the biggest military, is viewed as very dangerous by Germans.

Justifying the poll results from my personal view:
Germany has been dealing closely with Vladimir Putin for years and we have good trade relations with China, so both are known factors and chances are that the future with them will be business as usual. Putin is a known evil, we don't trust him but we also know that he's as rational as it gets. Xi is interested in economic power and war is bad for trade, so while the human rights violations and the Taiwan situation are bad, he wont endanger world peace. Kim Jong Un has been blustering for a long time, but, while he could kill a lot of people, he's more interested in staying in power than starting a war, so he's unlikely to mess up world peace. Iran was under very close observation where nuclear technology was concerned, so, while they do plenty of unsavory stuff, they don't have the power to actually disrupt world peace. They cause regional instability, but that's pretty much all they can do. So while those four are bad and/or evil, they aren't world peace shattering bad.
With Trump, he has the power to really, really mess up world peace. His behavior is unpredictable, so we can't rely on him to not mess it up at some point. There is a lot of uncertainty in dealing with Trump, which makes Germans anxious.

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    Interesting data. Surprising result for Die Linke and Muslims. Are Muslims in Germany more conservative than Protestands and Catholics? Could that explain why they are less likely to disapprove of Trump?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 11:54
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    I think the reason for the high approval rate of Muslims is that most of them are from Turkey, and a majority of those are in favor of Erdogan. And there are a lot of similarities between Erdogan and Trump.
    – miep
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 13:16
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    @gerrit ⅔ of the Turkish citicens in Germany voted for Erdoǧan in 2014. web.archive.org/web/20140812080032/http://www.tagesschau.de/… (Cited on de.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 9:46
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    @gerrit maybe not representative, but the point stands that there are quite a lot of conservative Turkish in Germany. Maybe the 2017 referendum is more representative, where participation was 46% and of those, 63.1% voted for Erdoǧan's option. tagesspiegel.de/politik/… Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 9:53
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    @gerrit yes. Many of the left-voting Turkish descendants probably don't classify themselves as muslims, whereas most of the Erdoǧan voters certainly do. So I do think it's safe to assume there's a significant overlap between the “muslim”, “Turkish” and “Erdoǧan-approving” groups in Germany, which makes it plausible enough to consider the similarity between Erdoǧan and Trump as a reason for the counterintuitively high Trump support amongst German muslims. Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 10:10

This is of course hardly detailed, but dislike for Trump abroad is well correlated to disliking his foreign policies. Germany polls pretty low on the latter too.

enter image description here

Pew has actually asked more detailed questions regarding specific policies, but they have only posted a graph with world-aggregate numbers on those questions. They do have per-country data in a longer report full of tables.

As I read some policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of each one.

a. U.S. withdrawal from international climate change agreements

  • Germany: approve 9%, disapprove: 90%

b. Building a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico

  • Germany: approve 8%, disapprove: 89%

c. U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear weapons agreement

  • Germany: approve 19%, disapprove: 77%

d. Allowing fewer immigrants into the U.S.

  • Germany: approve 24%, disapprove: 69%

(It's interesting that's there's a bit of gap between answers on this question and the one on the wall [b.])

e. U.S. increasing tariffs or fees on imported goods from other countries

  • Germany: approve 11%, disapprove: 85%

Of course, the issue with such questions is that (being targeted at a global audience) they don't cover all the stuff that may be of relevance to Germans (e.g. there's no Nord Stream question, or Trump prodding Germany to spend more on defense.) Likewise we don't know just from asking those questions how much each is weighed into the dislike of Trump (without going to additional surveys about how important those issues are to Germans.)

As a comment on the most-upvoted answer: approval of Trump among the AfD is not amazing either... 25% overall [in 2018], although his AfD-approval reached 58% in the [2019] question whether they approved of Trump's immigration policy. So just saying that Trump is disliked because he is engaging in "xenophobic speech" does not seem to me very illuminating in this perspective. It's of course possible that Germans outside the AfD primarily dislike Trump because of his discourse [style], but I haven't seen (polling) data proving that conclusively.

Although not explicitly about Trump, I also found interesting the polling data (especially the large Europe-Asia discrepancies) on a somewhat related question:

Polling data presented by Dalia Research confirms the negative views many Europeans hold toward the United States today. The company polled more than 177,000 people in 54 countries this spring. It asked, among other questions, whether the United States was a positive or negative force for democracy in the world. The opinion was decidedly negative in much of western Europe, Canada and Australia. Margins ranged from minus-47 in Austria and minus-40 in Germany to “only” minus-32 in Canada and minus-16 in France and minus-15 in Australia. People in many of our strongest allies are clearly upset with U.S. leadership in the Trump era.

In other words, many Germans seem to think that the US (under Trump) is pushing the world in the wrong direction, as far their conception of democracy goes. (The poll's question did not attempt to define democracy, leaving the meaning of term to the interpretation of the respondents.) Interestingly enough, the same poll found that in some Asian and Latin American countries (despite Trump), people still saw the the US as positive force for advancing democracy. (Full map here.) Somewhat predictably, in countries that are in closer confrontation with North Korea (like Japan or South Korea) the US [even under Trump] is viewed as strong pro-democratic factor. Likewise for some of Venezuela's neighbors.

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    Good answer, first one to actually refer to data. About the gap between migration and a wall, why is that interesting and where does the [b.] refer to?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 8:24
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    Are you seriously surprised that Germans are not in favour of bulding a wall? Our history with walls is kind of self-explanatory. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 9:01
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    @MarkusRoellig I don't think Trump's wall is intended to keep the Americans in, mind you. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 21:24
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    @MarkusRoellig I don't think it's fair to compare Trump's wall to the Berlin Wall...but I don't care to discuss it beyond that. Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 5:03
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    So far 19 Germans upvoted the comment by @MarkusRoellig ;-) For people outside of Germany it might be different types of wall, but for many Germans its still a Wall.
    – kap
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 14:15

You are asking the wrong question

You are only showing 4 countries, lets see what the same poll showed world wide:

enter image description here

The question should be: Why is confidence Trump comparatively high in the UK (As well as in Poland, Israel, South Korea and arguably Ukraine), considering those countries have free access to information and are well educated globally speaking1?

So while Germany is not an outlier, it is worth noting that the political spectrum in Germany leans far more "left" than in the USA, and it's particular history with World War Two and Trumps similarity to Hitler is noteworthy. In general, Germans have a highly unfavorable view of Republicans; a stance that will remain after Trump. This is due to the vastly different political mainstream of both countries: Free healthcare, free education, restriction of fire-arms for citizens, easy access to abortions, etc. are mandatory for Germans.

On another, non-political note: Many Germans view Trump as grossly incompetent.

1 I honestly don't mean to be disparaging, but think the high numbers in Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines and India don't mean that much, given the people at broad have very little knowledge about Trump and his policies. But that's an entirely different discussion.

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    You can answer my question by showing that what Germans think about Trump is not uncommon internationally, but that's not the same as my question being "wrong". Perhaps uninteresting or less interesting to you... I honestly find the reason why Israelis like Trump a lot more obvious, so your angle/question is rather boring to me. Also, if I asked an omnibus question why Poland, Israel, South Korea and Ukraine like Trump, it would be closed as too broad. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 15:28
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    I'm not saying the question is "wrong" in the sense that it has no merit. I am saying the answer won't give you a lot of information as the root cause for Trumps unpopularity outside the USA should be seen in the larger picture. It like asking "Why is fire in this particular place hot?", when it stands to reason that it is in most places, for similar reasons. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 15:39
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    I'm confused. Why isn't Germany's 13 an outlier when it is far lower number than any of its neighbors or their neighbors? The only place with a significantly lower value is Mexico, and the average approval worldwide is 33.4. Even discounting the countries in your comparatively high list and footnote, the average is 24.8, nearly twice the confidence in Germany. For that matter, why is the UK considered high while the same number in Italy and higher numbers in Japan, Australia, Hungary, South Africa, and Slovakia aren't pointed out?
    – Nolimon
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 22:00
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    If a German politician said "I'm gonna build a wall, a very long wall, a very big wall" some people would be worried. Same if he said "let's Make Germany Great Again". "the immigrants are drug dealers and criminals" (I agree that immigrants are working-class and poor, a good reason to encourage development of other neighboring nations and encourage high education). Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 1:45
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    What's up with the results in Kenya though. Did US do something nice for them recently? Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 10:32

Germans view the climate, immigration, housing, education, and pensions as the most pressing problems, in that order. Terror is #9, war is not even on the list. So Germans filter their preception of the most dangerous foreign countries and leaders thought that lens:

There is the (possibly mistaken) belief that both Iran and North Korea are at best regional powers, developing nuclear weapons mostly as a shield against regime change while they suppress their own population. The are not viewed as affecting climate, immigration, housing, etc., which is odd despite the Iranian impact on the Mid-East troubles.

Russia is seen as a not-quite-superpower, with a world-class nuclear arsenal and fairly good ground forces, but no economy to back them up. The view of Russia is less relaxed in eastern Europe, more relaxed in western Europe. China is seen as a commercial superpower without a global military.

Then there is the view that Xi Jinping plays patient chess, Vladimir Putin alternates chess and poker, while Donald Trump is willing to kick the game board over. That's seen as dangerous.


This whole question is in the wrong category as it has nothing to do with politics at all. And that's also the answer to the question. It's purely about media coverage. We Germans have been bombarded with negative media coverage surrounding Trump for the latter years. This was already the case for Bush but then the very contrasting Obama came to power. And especially after him the contrast couldn't be bigger, for Germans (and probably Europeans alike). Every little "poop" that Trump makes (aka tweets) is been reported. And often in a very threatening way. With new media the coverage is even bigger and you could even follow the tweets yourself. In comparison, the alleged open murder of a Russian person with radioactive poison on European ground considered to have been directly ordered by the president, was covered intensively but that's it. There's no (almost) daily news about Putin. The same goes for the other guys. So for the lesser educated German of course the heavily covered Trump, who actually hasn't done much threatening. Will look much more threatening than leaders who actually (allegedly) order murders on our European ground, fire nuclear missiles and so on...

You can compare searches on Google Tends for example. enter image description here Not sure scientific research exists for this topic. Here is an article about Trump being covered worst by German TV and in comparison to his predecessors: https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article164798817/Nirgends-kommt-Trump-schlechter-weg-als-im-deutschen-Fernsehen.html

Second to this is that especially Germans like continuity. There's a reason we kept Kohl and Merkel that long. That's for most public figures. Germans don't like change. So the ever changing Trump isn't something that Germans can easily see as not threatening. Germans probably already got used to Kim firing a missile now and then. As long as it doesn't come close to Europe, that's not news anymore. Same for the other guys. Presidents riding horses, even barley dressed, is not that threatening to a German.

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    I don't think that Trump is covered disproportionally compared to Bush or Obama (subjectively, I would say that he is covered less). 'Germans can follow Trumps unhinged rants on twitter' at first might seem like a reasonable explanation, but I'm not sure how many Germans actually do that (my guess would be not enough to explain the polls).
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 8:12
  • I'm not saying Trump is covered less or more than Bush or Obama. But definitely more than other current leaders.
    – steros
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 8:30
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    Sure it does. As I said the general tone regards Obama was much more positive. The media coverage of Trump is predominately negative. Thus Obama was much more positively received. And because the coverage of Trump is dominant over other leaders he is seen worst.
    – steros
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 8:34
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    -1, because you don't list any sources to back up your claims. Also, it's not enough to say he's covered negatively, because that might be just because germans disapprove of his actions, like the other answers suggest. You also would have to prove that the media pronounce disapproved actions of Trump more than those of his predecessors. I don't see why that should be the case. For example, Obama was also covered critically in the media, for example whether he really deserved the Nobel Peace Price or because of the drone strikes that were coordinated from the Ramstein military base.
    – akraf
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 9:51
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    It will be difficult to add sources as they will be mainly in German language. Here is one citing a study that in the first 100 days Trump was covered worst by German TV: welt.de/politik/ausland/article164798817/…
    – steros
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 11:19

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