19:39 GMT08 April 2020
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    Swedes' dislike for US President Donald Trump needs no introduction. Neither the Nordic country's leadership nor its citizens made any secret of the fact that Hillary Clinton was their preferred candidate. Recently, however, Trump has risen to a record level of unpopularity among Swedes.

    For Swedes, Donald Trump is in a class of his own. Never before has a world leader ranked as low as Donald Trump who reached a record level of minus 39 on a scale from plus 50 (like) to minus 50 (dislike), in a survey by the Gothenburg University-based SOM Institute.

    "Nobody has been that unpopular before. Or even come close," Sören Holmberg, a professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg, told the Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten.

    Remarkably, the survey was carried out during the autumn and winter of 2016, that is before Trump's notorious comments about "last night in Sweden" he made in February. Trump's tiff with Sweden is expected to have sunk his rating further. Incidentally, a March survey performed by pollster Novus for Swedish Radio found that Trump was only liked by 10 percent of Swedes, compared to 80 percent of respondents who said they disliked him.

    Oddly enough, Donald Trump has even overshadowed Russian president Vladimir Putin, who came second at minus 35. This may sound strange given Swedes' historical brand of Russophobia, locally known as "rysskräck," as well as the Swedish government's perennial attempts to portray Russia as a hostile superpower plotting to subjugate the entire Baltic Sea region. Additionally, Swedish politicians are known to depict Vladimir Putin as a personal menace to the Nordic country. The most recent example of this was presented by Liberal leader Jan Björklund, who mentioned Vladimir Putin among the greatest threats for Sweden. All the negative publicity may have influenced Swedes' opinion, as Vladimir Putin has fallen in popularity from minus 8 in 2000 and minus 16 in 2011.

    Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ranked third worst-ever with minus 32 in the 2011 survey. For the sake of comparison, former US president George W. Bush got minus 7 in 2000, while Barack Obama received plus 23 in 2011. In the recent survey, Hillary Clinton ranked plus 10, whereas German chancellor Angela Merkel climbed to the top of Swedes' approval with plus 16.

    For 30 years, the SOM Institute at Gothenburg University has measured the fame and the popularity of Swedish politicians and world leaders. The best-ever score in these surveys went to former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in 2011, who clocked a record plus 24 after Anders Breivik's massacre on the island of Utøya. Among Swedish leaders, former Social Democratic Prime Minister Invgar Carlsson and former Conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt ranked highest at plus 20 and plus 18 respectively.

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    Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Jens Stoltenberg, Donald Trump, United States, Scandinavia, Sweden
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