Sweden stands out as the country where the trust gap between Donald Trump and Barack Obama was the greatest. While a staggering 93 percent of Swedes trusted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner's way of managing foreign policy issues at the end of his term as US president, only 10 percent of Swedes had confidence in Trump at the beginning of his tenure, which indicates the greatest difference of 83 percent. Sweden is followed by the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and France, which all clocked a gap of between 75 and 70 percentage points.
According to Frida Stranne, USA researcher at Halmstad University and the North American Institute in Uppsala, the figures were hardly surprising.
"The Swedish media coverage of the US is among the most intense in the world, and the depiction of Trump has been very negative here in general. Swedes also tend to have more in common with the Democratic Party in terms of ideology, and have opinions that are generally more akin to Obama's ideas and ways," Frida Stranne told the newspaper Metro.
As a consequence of Trump's rein, Swedes' image of the US has taken a serious beating. Altogether, Swedes' favorability towards the US dropped to 45 percent from 69 percent only a year ago. A total of 54 percent of Swedish men reportedly held a positive image of the US, as opposed to only 35 percent of women. Men were also more positive towards Trump in general, as well as NATO and other themes usually associated with the US.
"This might even be good in this case. The US is not limited to New York or Los Angeles, but is a complex country with a population whose values, by and large, stand very far from the Swedish ones. It might be good if we become a little more aware of it and a little more critical. Not everything coming from the US is actually good, but we've been quite naïve in our perception. It is always healthy with a little nuance," Frida Stranne said.
According to Stranne, who recently penned an opinion piece for Expressen titled "There is no limit to Trump's childishness and ignorance," as a an example of Sweden's media narrative, Trump may undermine Swedes' opinion of the US for years to come, even if Trump's administration is "not forever."
Remarkably, only two countries featured in the survey, namely Russia and Israel, proved to hold a more positive view of Trump's actions than Obama's when it comes to foreign policy issues.