World leadership ranking: Germany in first place

The Gallup Media Institute conducted a study of the effectiveness of the popularity of the leaders of the 4 world powers: how the world feels about the United States, China, Russia and Germany. The survey was conducted among respondents from 116 countries and regions throughout 2021. People over the age of 15 participated in telephone and in-person surveys. The rankings are based on representative samples at the national level.

So what did this global opinion poll show? Before the military operation in Ukraine, Germany and the U.S. had the most “soft power” worldwide, and more than ever. Both countries were in stronger positions than Russia or China. The U.S. and Germany were well positioned to rally NATO.

For five years, Germany remained the most popular country in the world in the leadership rankings. We are talking about the period of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rule. Among the respondents of 116 countries, the rating of confidence in the German leadership, and its actions, in 2020 was 52%, in 2021 – 50%.

Among residents of European countries, 60% of respondents approved of the policies of the German government. By comparison: 40% of Europeans surveyed approved of the actions of the U.S. administration, 22% approved of Russia, and 18% approved of China.

The U.S., according to the Gallup Institute, is in second place.

The approval rating of the US in the world during the first year of Biden’s administration was 49%. This is a significant increase from the last year of the Trump administration’s 30% rating. Confidence in the U.S. increased particularly strongly in Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and confidence was up in all NATO and G7 countries, including Japan.

The Gallup Institute notes that the U.S. has managed to regain the favor of European countries, which had largely lost confidence in the U.S. leadership during the Trump presidency. Meanwhile, in Zambia and Nepal, U.S. approval ratings in 2020 have plummeted, as have 13 countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Lithuania.

After the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the global average level of confidence in U.S. actions dropped to 45 percent. In Afghanistan itself, in August-September 2021, 87 percent of all respondents disapproved of U.S. actions.

Among residents of U.S. neighboring countries, 55% of respondents from Canada and 52% from Mexico trusted U.S. leadership. The lowest trust rating for the U.S. in Latin America was recorded in Chile.

Russia’s approval rating in the world, before the military operation in Ukraine, was 33%, roughly the same as in 2020. But, as the Gallup Institute report notes, since most countries around the world condemn Russian aggression, Russia’s rating could fall well below the 22% that was recorded in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea.

The actions of China’s leadership in the global survey were approved by 30 percent of respondents. This rating has remained virtually unchanged for two years. Sociologists note that China’s future ratings also depend on its reaction to the war in Ukraine and on whether Beijing will support Moscow.

With regard to China, the positive dynamics remain in Africa. The actions of the Chinese leadership are approved by 52% of respondents in African countries, while the actions of the U.S. – 60%.

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