Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 11:38 | SYDNEY
Sunday 19 Aug 2018 | 11:38 | SYDNEY

World leaders: Thumbs up or down?


Fergus Hanson


1 July 2009 10:14

An interesting poll of 20 nations came out today on confidence in leaders around the world. Obama was way out ahead with an average of 61% across all nations saying they had a lot or some confidence in him 'to do the right thing regarding world affairs'. Not surprisingly, Ahmadinejad came last on the list when it came to overall confidence, with only 28% of people on average expressing a lot or some confidence. Prime Minister Putin has the confidence of the public in just five countries —the lowest of any leader tested. 

Perhaps most interesting was the confidence levels in Hu Jintao: overall he scored low, with just 32% of people on average expressing a lot or some confidence in him doing the right thing in world affairs. But the picture was more nuanced; in China's immediate neighbourhood, people expressed more confidence in Hu than further afield. As the study put it:

In most nations in the West — including Europe, the US and Mexico — President Hu receives low confidence scores. Low scores are also common in the Middle East including in Turkey, the Palestinian territories, and Iraq. However, in Asia, the publics in most nations express confidence in the Chinese leader such as in Pakistan (80%), India (50%) and in South Korea (by a narrow margin, 51% to 47%). Overall, seven nations express confidence in President Hu, 10 lack confidence, and two divided. 

On another China-related note, President Sarkozy has suffered a big drop in public support there:

The Chinese public, however, expresses sharply lower confidence in Sarkozy in 2009 (23%) than in 2008 (42%). This fall in confidence was not evident for other Western leaders. The protests in France in April 2008 related to the Olympic torch and Tibet policy, and Mr. Sarkozy's threat to boycott the Beijing Olympics seems to have soured the Chinese public.  

Photo by Flickr user F Secco, used under a Creative Commons license.