President Trump is worried about Sweden. The Nordic nation has become a frequent topic of conversation for Trump, who suggests that it is facing deep problems with immigration — a position that many experts characterize as inaccurate or an oversimplification.
But it turns out that many Swedes are worried about Trump in return. A new poll suggests that the U.S. president is unusually unpopular in Sweden, and the results have surprised academics who track Swedish views of the world.
Soren Holmberg, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg, told the Swedish radio show “Ekot” that he'd seen many polls that tracked Swedish opinions of foreign leaders and that “these figures are clearly the most negative we have seen for some time.”
The new poll, conducted by the company Novus for Ekot, found that 80 percent of Swedes had negative views of Trump, while only 10 percent had a positive view. Nine percent said they felt neutral about him.
Holmberg works with the SOM Institute, a survey research organization based at the University of Gothenburg. He said that while Swedish polls had shown negative views of foreign leaders in the past — he cited as examples former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian leader Vladimir Putin — Trump was in another league.
Trump's comments about Sweden last month probably didn't help his cause. The poll, with 1,031 respondents, was conducted between March 2 and 8, not long after the U.S. president referred to an attack in Sweden that actually never occurred.
The Novus poll did find some variance among Swedes' views of Trump, however. Men were less likely to say they had a negative view of the U.S. president than women (71 percent vs. 89 percent), for example.
Meanwhile, supporters of every major Swedish party said they had a negative view of Trump, except for the Sweden Democrats — an anti-immigration party that has previously distanced itself from Trump. Among supporters of that party, 42 percent had a positive view of Trump and 36 percent had a negative view.
Before he was elected, polls had suggested that Trump was widely unpopular across Europe. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center early last year found that the vast majority of citizens in 10 major European countries had no confidence in the political novice doing the right thing in global affairs. In that poll, 92 percent of Swedes said they had no confidence in Trump.
More on WorldViews: