What Do the French Think of the United States Right Now?

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon - Eigenes Werk, via Wikimedia. This photo has been cropped from its original.

President Donald Trump will visit France on Friday, November 9, for a military celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. This will be his second visit to the country often called America’s oldest ally. Which makes it a good time to ask, what do the French think of America these days?

A recent survey by IFOP, one of France’s leading pollsters, gives us some insight. French people were asked a series of questions about the US.

Is the United States a reliable ally?

Only a minority (44%) of the French surveyed consider the US a reliable ally, a big drop from the last survey taken during the Obama administration (77%). The recent score of 44% was just above that of India (41%) and surprisingly not much above China (32%).

Do you approve of US policy?

In a word, non. Only 20% of the French surveyed approve of US policy, while an overwhelming majority (80%) disapprove.

The survey dug into this subject further, asking whether the US is an ally on a variety of topics. Here are the results.

Is the US an ally on…

It looks like withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement didn’t go down very well in Paris.

What is your opinion of President Trump?

A whopping 83% of the French surveyed have a negative opinion of Trump, which raises the question — does this negative opinion apply to other Americans as well?

What do you think of Americans?

There were two questions on this subject. The first asked whether most Americans are like Trump. The answer was largely no, with 75% of respondents saying that most Americans are not like Trump. Similarly, 73% of those surveyed said they still have friendly feelings towards Americans. So for those of us that still like to travel to France, that’s encouraging.

Also encouraging is the fact that when asked if it’s important that France maintain a strong relationship with the US, 82% of those surveyed said oui. 

If you have one big takeaway from this, while it’s clear that the French don’t care for the current resident of the White House or his policies, the good news is that they are able to separate this from the way they feel about Americans. So don’t cancel that trip to Paris! (But you might want to leave your MAGA hat at home.)