More Brits Now Favor Trump Visiting the U.K., Poll Says

  • YouGov survey in January shows support for president coming
  • Trump criticized venerated National Health Service this week

President Donald Trump’s swipe at the U.K.’s venerated health-care system came just as the British public was starting to warm to him.

A survey by YouGov Plc at the end of January showed 45 percent of respondents supported a state visit by the U.S. president, compared with 39 percent who wanted it to be canceled. That’s a significant shift from a month earlier, when 55 percent opposed a visit and only 31 percent were in favor.

Trump’s apology for retweeting anti-Muslim videos by a fringe British far-right group, as well as his relatively low-key State of the Union address, may have swayed some respondents, YouGov spokesman Ben Tobin said by email. Trump has previously angered many in the U.K. with comments about terrorist attacks, while he also canceled a trip to open the new U.S. embassy in London.

“We love your country,” Trump told Prime Minister Theresa May last month at Davos, appearing to want to put things right.

But the tone changed again this week when Trump claimed that the National Health Service -- widely regarded as a key part of the U.K.’s political identity -- was “going broke and not working.” That earned him a sharp rebuke from the government as well as members of the public.

Whether or not support for a state visit holds, YouGov said Trump’s claim -- in an interview with Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan at Davos -- to be “very popular” in the U.K. isn’t backed by the data. Of the 1,652 respondents, 67 percent said he has been a “poor or terrible” president.

On the issue of Trump visiting Queen Elizabeth II, political leaning was key: 57 percent of Labour voters in the survey said it shouldn’t happen, versus just 22 percent among supporters of May’s ruling Conservatives.

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