Apr 29, 2023 - World

Most countries prefer U.S. global leadership to China's

Data: Gallup. Note: Approximately 1,000 people at least 15 years of age were polled per country.; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global approval of U.S. leadership slumped in year two of President Biden's tenure, according to a Gallup poll of 137 countries and territories.

The big picture: While Biden's international honeymoon may be over, the U.S. still polls far ahead of China and Russia.

  • The polling was largely conducted in mid-to-late 2022 — after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, and also after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Approval of Russian leadership fell almost across the board, though it remained strikingly high in a handful of African countries. In Mali, where Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group have a presence, approval was 90%.
  • Germany is the less polarizing of the two Western powers included in the poll. While overall approval of German leadership declined from 2021, disapproval tends to be lower than for the U.S.

By the numbers: Median approval of U.S. leadership fell from 41% to 39% in Europe, and 52% to 36% in the Americas in Biden's second year.

  • Nonetheless, China only polls ahead of the U.S. in a handful of countries in either region — Russia unsurprisingly among them. Median approval of Chinese leadership is just 16% in Europe and 23% in the Americas.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, approval of both U.S. (median of 59%) and Chinese (52%) leadership tends to be relatively high.
  • In Asia, the picture is more mixed. China polls far ahead in Pakistan and Iran, for example, whereas U.S. approval is much higher in India.

Snapshot: U.S. leadership is particularly popular in Kosovo (90%), Poland (80%), Nigeria (78%), Israel (65%) and the Philippines (62%), and particularly unpopular in Russia (4%), Iran (8%) and the Palestinian territories (13%).

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