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Who's the Most Popular World Leader Today

A status check on the waxing and waning popularity of political leaders across the globe and what influences their ratings

Leader: Barack Obama
Country: USA

Popularity Status

High of 69 percent. Low of 49 percent. Better than most US presidents since 1950-60.

Since President Dwight Eisenhower, Obama is the only president to have enjoyed a high initial approval rating of 69 percent. Since his election, the lowest he’s ever hit is 49 percent. Can he maintain his high rating if he gets a second term at the White House?

Leader: Manmohan Singh
Country: India
Popularity Status

Approval rating declined in the past one year as corruption charges and policy paralysis crippled the UPA’s second term.

India saw one of the sharpest declines in its leader’s approval rating. A spate of scandals, policy paralysis and TIME magazine’s ‘Underachiever’ tag hasn’t helped Manmohan Singh. His approval rating declined from 65 percent
in 2010 to 59 percent in 2011.  

Leader: Angela Merkel
Country: Germany
Popularity Status

One of the most popular leaders globally, with a 77 percent approval rating in February 2012.

Angela Merkel’s approval ratings have been among the highest in the world, at 77 percent this year. Her conservative style of leadership has gone down well with the Germans. But her rating is still lower than the 80 percent benchmark she had set in 2006.

Leader: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Country: Indonesia
Popularity Status

A 21 percent drop in his popularity rating. Won’t get another term as president because Indonesia has a two-term cap for presidents.

President Yudhoyono came to power with a record approval rating of 61 percent. His party has been rocked by scams, and poor management of affairs has led to a fall in his ratings to 40 percent.

Leader: David Cameron
Country: United Kingdom
Popularity Status

He is more popular than his party though his approval rating has fallen from 63 percent last year.

As on September 18, if the UK were to go to polls, 45 percent would vote for the Labour party, says The Times. However, when Britons were asked for their choice of a leader, 60 percent of them preferred David Cameron of the Conservative Party. This figure is up 4 percent since June, though
it is lower than his approval rating of 63 percent last year.

Leader: François Hollande
Country: France
Popularity Status

His popularity dropped 10 percent between August and September this year.

President François Hollande is barely six months old in his job, and his approval rating has fallen to 44 percent in September from 54 percent in August. His predecessor, President Nicolas Sarkozy, had an approval rating of 50 percent even after being in power for only eight months. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Reuters that Sarkozy’s style of daily policy announcements
was popular with the media.

Leader: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Country: Turkey
Popularity Status

Most popular leader in the Arab world. His party’s popularity has grown from 34.3 percent in 2002 to 49.83 percent in 2011.

A survey by Pew Research Center declares Turkey as ‘the’ nation to lead the way in a new democratic Arab world. Its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been instrumental in shaping this image, and has received the highest approval rating of 65 percent among leaders of the Arab world. He is followed by Saudi’s King Abdullah at 58 percent. Erdoğan’s party has steadily climbed up the popularity charts from 34.3 percent in 2002 to 46.7 percent in 2007 and 49.83 percent in 2011.

• US & India  - Gallup
• Turkey - Pew Research Center
• Germany  - Public broadcaster ARD & FT
• Indonesia – The Economist
• France - Reuters
• UK - The Times