Europe wants Joe Biden to beat Donald Trump

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
October 08, 2020, 7:00 AM UTC

Many are concerned the election won’t be free and fair

With the presidential election less than a month away, a new YouGov survey of seven European countries – Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden – finds that people overwhelmingly want to see Joe Biden triumph over Donald Trump.

A victory for the Democratic challenger is most strongly desired in Denmark, where 80% want to see him win compared to only 6% for the Republican incumbent. The president performs best in Italy, but even here the 20% who want him returned for a second term are outnumbered almost three to one by the 58% who want Biden to win.

However, Europeans are less sure that a Biden victory will come to pass. Only in Denmark do more than half the population think the Democrat will win. Nevertheless, in every country people are more likely than not to think Biden is on course to become the 46th president of the United States.

Many of those questioned have doubts about the American political process. Across the seven countries, no more than 11% of people expect the election to be “completely free and fair”.

Britons, French, Germans and Swedes are noticeably more likely to think the election won’t be particularly free and fair than think it will be. The Danes and the Spanish are split, while Italians are slightly more likely to think the democratic process will be robust.

Large proportions also believe that Trump’s presidential campaign so far has been “mostly dishonest” (47-74%). By comparison, in every country surveyed, Joe Biden’s campaign is more likely to be seen as honest (26%-43%) than dishonest (7%-15%). However, far more people answered “don’t know” for the Democrat challenger than the Republican incumbent.

Europeans think Trump has been a bad president

Few Europeans think that Trump has distinguished himself as president – just 5-15% rate him a “great” or “good” president. Instead, large majorities in each country – from a low of 61% in Italy to a high of 82% in Denmark – think he has been “poor” or “terrible”.

Most Europeans also consider Trump’s time in office to have had a negative impact on their own country (50-69%), and on the world (68-84%). Substantial minorities even consider Trump to have had a negative impact on themselves personally (27-44%).

Just 4-17% think the president has had a positive impact in any of these areas.

Many have no view of Biden

Views on Biden are also tempered, with the proportion of people across the seven countries who think the Democrat would make a “great” or “good” president still fairly low, at 17-23%.

Instead, people are much more likely to either think Biden would make an average president (32-55%) or to have no sense of him in the first place (21-45% answered “don’t know”). Few, though, think he will make a poor or terrible president (6-13%).

That being said, 29-49% think Biden will have a positive impact on their own country, and 36-58% think he will have a positive impact on the world – although again large numbers of people say they “don’t know”. A minority of 7-18% expect Biden to have a negative impact.

On top of this, across a clutch of six areas – international relations, climate change, coronavirus, economics, terrorism and peace – in every country, on every measure, people across the seven European markets surveyed tend to think that the Democratic challenger would do a better job than President Trump.

Of these, Trump performs best on “improving the USA’s economy” (16-29%) and “combating international terrorism” (16-27%). Biden scores highest on “improving the USA’s relationship with your country” (43-69%).

See the topline results here