Almost two-thirds of the British public believe Donald Trump is a threat to international stability and a clear majority believe he will be a bad president, according to an Opinium/Observer poll conducted during his tumultuous second week in office.
The study reveals Britons have an overwhelmingly negative view of the divisive US president, who in the fortnight since his inauguration has signed a string of executive orders imposing draconian immigration measures, professed to backing torture and rowed publicly with the leaders of Mexico, Iran and Australia. In addition to the 64% who believe he represents a threat to international stability, the words most commonly associated by Britons with the divisive US president are dangerous (50%), unstable (39%), and bigot (35%). A further 56% believe he is untrustworthy.
It also reveals that more than four in 10 people (44%) believe Trump will be an awful president, with a further one in ten believing he will be below average. A mere 6% believe Trump will be a great president.
However, Britons are more divided on the issue of Trump’s state visit to the UK, due to be hosted by the Queen this year. While a slim majority (53%) believe the trip should either be delayed until his now-suspended 120-day travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries lapses (25%) or cancelled outright (28%), 36% believe the visit should go ahead regardless. Parliament will hold a debate on calls to cancel the state visit on 20 February after more than 1.8 million people signed a petition in support of scrapping or downgrading the invitation.
The results also suggest that Theresa May’s move to forge a close partnership with the new White House administration could risk alienating a substantial portion of the British public. Though 50% of those surveyed believe the US is Britain’s most important global ally, less than a third (29%) think the special relationship will be stronger under Trump’s presidency than it was under Obama’s. However, four in 10 voters agreed “Brexit means we have no choice but to keep strong ties with the US”, and 37% believe Trump is “a friend of Britain”.
Despite concerns that the prime minister’s attempts to negotiate a free trade deal with the US could involve unpopular compromises on public ownership of the NHS and food safety, a majority of voters (55%) believe May is strong enough to stand up for the UK’s interests while Trump is president. Less than one in four (22%) said the same of Corbyn.
At home, the prime minister and the Conservatives also maintain commanding leads over Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. Though May’s party are down one point since last month at 37%, their seven point lead over the opposition, who are on 30%, remains unchanged.
When asked who would be their preferred prime minister, voters opt for May ahead of Corbyn by an overwhelming margin of 43% to 14%. The prime minister’s approval rating is up one point at 15%, while Corbyn’s is down one at -28%.
Ukip, whose leader Paul Nuttall could pull off a shock byelection victory in the previously safe Labour seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central later this month, are unchanged at 14%. The Liberal Democrats are up one point at 8%, the Scottish National party, down one point, are level with the Greens, who are also up one, at 5%.
Opinium surveyed 2,005 adults online between 31 January and 3 February.