If there is one thing that unites most Finns regardless of gender, income or place of residence it is a cautious view on US president Donald Trump.
Taloustutkimus interviewed Finns on behalf of Yle asking how Trump had impacted a range of issues from global security to environmental protection.
Only 4 percent of respondents said that in their view Trump had made the world a safer place, while 14 percent said Trump had strengthened the US position on the globe. Those with only a primary education or with an annual household income of 10,000 euros or less were most likely to argue that Trump had improved global security. On the other hand, those likely to vote for the Finns Party in the next general election were the most eager to support both claims.
About 70 percent of those queried argued that the US president has weakened commitment to protecting the environment. University graduates, residents of Turku and Tampere and those with a household income of 70,000 euros per year were most keen to agree with the statement. In contrast, half of those respondents who are likely to support a Christian Democratic candidate in the general election disagreed.
A large majority of Finns – 88 percent – also believe that Trump has polarised the discussion on social issues and increased aggressive commenting on social media. The supporters of the Green Party were most likely to concur with this opinion, while close to half of Blue Reform devotees contradicted the statement.
Meanwhile, 5 percent of the respondents said Trump had not had an impact on any of the issues. The support for this statement was strongest among 65-79-year-olds, those in managerial positions and residents in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants.
Trump unpopular across Finland and the world
Ville Sinkkonen, researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, says the results of the poll reflect Trump’s policy against international co-operation.
During his tenure, the US has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Treaty and the Iran nuclear deal while introducing tariffs on European steel and aluminum.
“Finns can see that ours is a small country dependent on exports. This shows in the poll quite strongly,” Sinkkonen says.
The survey shows that Finns are quite unanimous in their disapproval of Trump, including the supporters of the Finns Party.
“Even though respondents may agree with Trump on a certain issue, immigration for example, this does not mean that they automatically support his whole agenda,” Sinkkonen adds.
According to Sinkkonen, the relatively more positive view of Trump among Christian Democrats is probably based on his support of Israel and his policy in the Middle-East.
He points out that the results of the poll are similar to those conducted in other countries.
“During his term, Trump has been unpopular in Western Europe and globally too.”
Russia and Israel prefer Trump
A poll by Pew Research Center conducted in 134 countries earlier this year showed a 30-percent approval rate for the current US administration. In contrast, Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama was supported by 48 percent in the second year of his term.
Trump is more popular than Obama only in Russia and Israel, the Pew survey showed.
Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,012 people between 11 and 19 June. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3 percent.
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Finland: Various protests planned in Helsinki for Trump-Putin summit, Yle News
Norway: Adding U.S. Marines in Norway creates instability, says Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia’s Northern Fleet launches surprise, large-scale exercise in Barents Sea, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden issues first brochure on war and crisis preparedness since Cold War, Radio Sweden
United States: China’s retaliatory tariffs could cripple Alaska’s seafood industry, Alaska Public Media