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Little trusted Putin beats Trump on global affairs: Pew

[MOSCOW] Russian President Vladimir Putin inspires little confidence when it comes to handling world affairs, a Pew Research Center survey showed. But he still outshines his US counterpart Donald Trump.

"Although confidence in Putin's handling of foreign affairs is generally low, in many countries he is more trusted than American President Donald Trump," Pew wrote in a survey focused on Russia's power and influence. Pew is a Washington-based non-partisan research group.

A median 60 per cent of people in 37 countries, including the US, said they lack confidence in the Russian leader's actions in world affairs, versus 26 per cent who said he's doing a good job. Pew didn't provide matching statistics for Mr Trump in a survey focused on Russia, but of the 36 countries canvassed on who they trust more, 22, including Germany, France and Japan, trust Mr Putin more than Mr Trump, according to the pollster's 2017 spring survey.

The survey was conducted Feb 16 to May 8, before Mr Trump set global markets on edge in August by tweeting threats to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea should the hermit regime threaten US territory with any of its intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also preceded Mr Trump's decision to sign a bill deepening sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The Kremlin retaliated by ordering the US to slash staff at its diplomatic missions.

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Mr Trump is still doing better than Mr Putin in his own country. Pew said that 53 per cent of the American public has confidence in Mr Trump, versus 23 per cent for Mr Putin. About a third of the nations surveyed see Russia as a major threat to their country, similar to the level of concern caused by China and the US

Mr Trump edged out Mr Putin in the confidence stakes in 13 countries, including the UK, India and Israel. He also scored better in Ghana and the Philippines, where both leaders are expected to attend international summits later this year. The two leaders drew a dead heat in Tanzania. Results from the US, which was also part of the survey, weren't included in this question, and China wasn't polled.

Most Russians believe that Mr Putin has improved their country's standing in the world, Meanwhile, American and Russian views of each other have become less harsh. The number of Russians who view the US favourably rose to 41 per cent, from 15 per cent in 2015, while 29 per cent of Americans felt more favourably disposed toward Russia, up from 22 per cent in 2015, Pew said.