Ever since it began to look as though Donald Trump might have an actual prayer of becoming president, there has been a steady stream of stories about foreign diplomats and other officials contacting their US counterparts to express their discomfort at the prospect of The Donald wielding the power of the White House.
However, a new survey by YouGov, working for the German business publisher Handelsblatt, found that there is at least one country in the G20 where Trump is the preferred candidate in a matchup between the billionaire, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
That country, it will come as little surprise to anyone who has followed the long-distance flirtation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, is Russia.
In fact, it wasn’t even close. The Russian people surveyed by YouGov supported Trump over Clinton by a margin of 21 percent. For reference, Trump’s next-best showing in the poll was in China, where he lost to Clinton by 12 points -- a 33-percentage point swing.
Mexico, unsurprisingly given Trump’s antagonistic stance toward the US’s southern neighbor, was the most likely to prefer Clinton to Trump, with a margin of 54 percent. However, north of the border Clinton didn’t do nearly as well. Canadians gave her the nod over the former reality television star by only 17 points.
That Trump should do well in Russia is no doubt due in part to Putin’s favorable public remarks about him. The Russian president has praised Trump’s business acumen and touted him as the clear leader in the race to be the next president.
Trump, for his part, ate it up, and has frequently noted that Putin referred to him as “brilliant” last year. He also appeared to defend the Russian strongman against allegations that a suspicious number of journalists have turned up dead in Russia during Putin’s rule.
Trump insists that as president, he would form a strong bond with Putin, and uses the Russian leader’s comments as proof. However, there’s a fairly persuasive argument that in talking up a brash billionaire, Putin is just returning to his KGB roots with a little light trolling of the US establishment.