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canada-u.s. relations

Canada’s opinion of the United States has tumbled to a “low point,” a new survey suggests, with confidence in U.S. President Donald Trump markedly lower than for his predecessor.

In its report, the Pew Research Center found that “just” 39 per cent of Canadians had a favourable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage in polling since 2002. Two years ago, during the final stretch of Barack Obama’s presidency, 65 per cent of Canadians expressed a favourable opinion of their southern neighbour.

The drop was even more dramatic for Mr. Trump himself. “Only” 25 per cent of Canadians have confidence in Mr. Trump, the report said – a slight uptick from 2017, but plummeting from 83 per cent in the final year of Mr. Obama’s tenure.

Pew noted that Mr. Trump “gets more positive ratings among those who feel closest to the Conservative Party (44 per cent) than among those who identify with the New Democratic Party (17 per cent) or the ruling Liberal Party (10 per cent).”

The survey was finished in August, several weeks before Canada, the U.S. and Mexico reached a deal to replace the North American free-trade agreement. Under the proposed pact, Canada made some concessions, such as granting the U.S. greater access to Canada’s dairy market, but also preserved some elements, including the dispute-resolution mechanism.

The timing of the survey may partly explain why more than eight in 10 Canadians say the U.S. “ignores Canada’s interests” in setting foreign policy.

The trends in Canada – a two-year erosion of U.S. favourability and presidential ratings – were pervasive among America’s allies and neighbours, the survey suggests. In Mexico, positive views of the U.S. have decreased by an even greater percentage than in Canada since the end of the Obama presidency.