Xi Jinping Wins the Popularity Contest – Businessweek

A recent survey on the popularity of global leaders is providing rich fodder for the Communist Party of China’s propaganda machine. The study, which canvassed some 26,000 people in 30 countries on their attitudes toward 10 world leaders, shows President Xi Jinping was rated higher by the people of China than any other leader in the survey was rated by the people of his or her respective country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the highest-rated world leader in many fields,” China Daily reported on Wednesday, commenting on the study (PDF), which was published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School and carried out by Japanese research firm GMO. “Chinese respondents showed the highest confidence in regards to how their leader handled domestic and international affairs.”

Among the national rankings, where people rate their own leader, Xi averaged 9 out of 10, higher than any other head of state, with 94.8 percent of Chinese expressing confidence about how he handles domestic affairs and 93.8 percent saying the same about international affairs.

Xi was followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin (8.7), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (8.6), South African President Jacob Zuma (7), and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (6.7). U.S. President Barack Obama came in seventh place, with only a 6.2 ranking. Just 51.7 percent of Americans were confident about Obama’s handling of domestic affairs, while 49.1 percent said the same regarding international affairs.

But while Xi’s high popularity is getting lots of attention in China’s party-controlled press, the possible reasons behind it are not. Leaders in countries that hold a high degree of state control over the media would naturally rate higher, the Harvard study says, a conclusion ignored by China Daily and other Chinese publications.

via Xi Jinping Wins the Popularity Conest – Businessweek.

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