Joe Biden Prompts Republican Crisis of Confidence on World Stage

President Joe Biden declared last month that "America is back," as his administration looks to revive traditional U.S. diplomacy and global leadership that he and his allies said were severely weakened under former President Donald Trump.

Early polls suggest that Americans are largely standing behind Biden on his foreign policy platform. Most approve of the president's commitment to long-held U.S. allies and a multilateral diplomatic focus that was sidelined by Trump and his team, who lauded their breaking from diplomatic convention as a means to addressing long-standing American grievances.

But a new poll conducted by Gallup has found that reaction to Biden's "back to normal" is deeply partisan, with Democrats relieved and hopeful while their Republican compatriots are fearful and embarrassed.

The latest Gallup poll was conducted between February 3 and 18 with a random, nationally representative sample of 1,021 adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll's margin of error was 4 percent.

It found that a Republican crisis of confidence overwhelmed Democratic positivity, leaving 49 percent of the overall cohort believing the U.S. is viewed favorably in the eyes of the world, and 37 percent satisfied with America's world position.

In the Republican group, 44 percent of respondents said they think the world now sees the U.S. favorably with Biden in charge. That is down from 81 percent this time last year when Trump was still in office.

The Democratic swing was less extreme, with 53 percent now believing the world sees the U.S. favorably versus 40 percent last year.

Fifty-eight percent of all respondents believe world leaders respect Biden, but are clearly split on partisan lines. Only 19 percent of Republicans think the world respects Biden, compared with 90 percent of Democrats.

This question has traditionally thrown up partisan disagreement, Gallup noted. President George W. Bush's ratings after the 9/11 attacks were the notable exception, when a record 75 percent of all respondents believed world leaders respected the president. This soon fell sharply amid the disastrous Iraq War.

No more than 37 percent of Gallup respondents ever thought world leaders respected Trump. At the same point of his presidency in February 2017, only 29 percent believed Trump was respected by the rest of the world.

Republicans also reported a deep dissatisfaction with America's place on the world stage. Eighty-two percent were satisfied in Trump's final year in office, but now just 27 percent are satisfied with Biden in charge; a drop of 55 points.

This aligns with the responses under President Barack Obama between 2009 and 2016, when no more than 20 percent of Republicans ever told Gallup they were satisfied with America's place in the world.

Democrats reported a less pronounced move in the opposite direction, with 45 percent now satisfied with America's place in the world versus 23 percent from this time last year. Throughout Trump's presidency, Democratic satisfaction on this question never rose above 23 percent.

"As Biden increasingly enacts his foreign policy agenda, Democrats' positive impressions of the U.S. on the world stage are likely to grow, and Republicans' may fall further, assuming polarization will expand to the extremes seen under the last two presidents," Gallup explained.

Joe Biden pictured on South Lawn DC
President Joe Biden talks to members of the press on the South Lawn upon returning to the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 14, 2021. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images