As President Obama heads to the G20 summit in St. Petersburg this week he remains the most popular world leader. Ordinary citizens in most countries, with some notable exceptions, say they have confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs and many generally approve of his policies.
But over the course of the past five years he has certainly lost some of his luster — which is to be expected from a president who won a Nobel Peace Prize just nine months after taking office. Expectations were very high. And, as it turns out, so far he has not achieved what he promised. The world public has noticed.
Nonetheless, Obama remains personally popular and has consistently received much higher confidence ratings over the course of his presidency than his predecessor George W. Bush. And he is better regarded than other current world leaders. Only Angela Merkel comes close to the breadth of Obama’s popularity. But even in Europe, a Pew Research poll last year found the American president getting higher ratings than the German chancellor in seven out of eight major European nations. In other parts of the world, more citizens expressed confidence in Obama than Merkel for the most part.