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Graphic: Gallup

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

  • Gallup said America's global approval ratings will likely continue to shift as it completes its polling for 2021, though it is unlikely to drop to Trump-era lows.

By the numbers: The transition from Trump to Biden significantly improved the approval rating of U.S. leadership in 36 of the 46 countries and territories surveyed by Gallup through the first half of the year.

  • Ratings improved the most among European allies, including Portugal (52 percentage points), the Netherlands (45 points), Norway (42 points) and Sweden (41 points).
  • After Biden assumed office, ratings of U.S. leadership decreased in just three countries: Russia, Serbia and Benin.

The big picture: Trump exited the White House with an extremely low international approval rating despite some foreign policy successes, such as the Abraham Accords.

  • However, four years of controversial decisions — like leaving the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the World Health Organization — likely overshadowed the Trump administration's foreign policy successes.

Go deeper: Breaking Biden's diplomatic confirmation logjam

Methodology: Results for the 2020 approval ratings are based on nationally representative, probability-based samples among the adult populations, aged 15 and older, in 108 to 109 countries and areas.

  • For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error ranges from ±1.1 to ±5.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
  • Results for the 2021 approval ratings are based on nationally representative, probability-based samples among the adult populations, aged 15 and older, in 46 countries and areas surveyed between April and August 2021.
  • For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error ranges from ±2.8 to ±5.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Go deeper

Young Dems more likely to despise the other party

Expand chart
Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Nearly a quarter of college students wouldn't be friends with someone who voted for the other presidential candidate — with Democrats far more likely to dismiss people than Republicans — according to new Generation Lab/Axios polling.

Why it matters: Partisan divides — as each side inhabits parallel political, cultural and media universes —make a future of discord and distrust in the U.S. all the more likely.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.