Indians would like to have the world run by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama, going by an academic study of what the world thinks of 20 global leaders. Over 80 per cent of Indians are confident that either of them would “do the right thing in world affairs”. Most popular leaders
Singh’s standing has jumped 30 percentage points with his own people since last year. He saw his standing unchanged in the five other Asian countries polled —except China. Chinese distrust for Singh jumped 16 percentage points. Less than a third expressed confidence in him. Stephen Weber of WorldPublicOpinion.org says last year’s Tibetan riots may have had an impact.
His poll victory probably drove the surge in India, he says. “Singh was riding a crest.”
One person who is in a trough is Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari who had the worst domestic ratings of any leader with 64 per cent of Pakistanis giving him a thumbs down.
Curiously, says Weber, Indians were among the most generous in rating foreign leaders, with positive ratings well above the global average. “Africans also have this tendency. Some countries are more forgiving...”
Unsurpisingly Obama was the frontrunner among world leaders. On average, 61 per cent of the non-Americans polled expressed confidence in him, roughly a half more than any other world leader.
The two least trusted world leaders are Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Globally, less than a third of people have confidence in their international behaviour. China’s Hu Jintao comes in third with a 32 per cent approval rating.
WorldPublicOpinion.org is collaborative effort of several research centres around the world and managed by the University of Maryland’s program on international policy attitudes. Says Premchand Palety of polling agency Cfore, “A poll like this, with a 1000-person sample in India, should be seen as an indicator rather than a definite measure.”