Global Leaders

  • Iraq, MENA, Leaders, Pope, 2018

Gallup International’s 42nd Annual Global End of Year Survey

October – December 2018

The World Loses Confidence in Global Leaders,

according to the first and oldest Global Survey “End of the Year” Gallup International

It is often said that during times of uncertainty we need our leaders to ‘step up’ – history looks back fondly on Winston Churchill, on Nelson Mandela, on Mahatma Gandhi and many others.  Yet while we witness global business leadership (Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos, Bill and Melinda Gates etc.), the latest survey from Gallup International, the world’s longest running global polling agency, reveals that negative attitudes towards our main political leaders across the world are growing.

The survey carried out in 57 countries across the globe shows that although maintaining a positive image across the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while grabbing top spot as the most positively evaluated leader (net score +20%), lost 6% compared with a year ago.  Last year’s number one – President Emmanuel Macron of France – has had his favorability on the global stage fall significantly (from +21 to +6%).   Both European leaders of course have also faced significant challenges at home in the last year.

US Present Donald Trump remains unchallenged at the bottom of the ranking with a net score of -28%, while Russian President Vladimir Putin lost 16% of the positive views he was gathering last year. Putin’s favorability in his own country is also in decline, driven often by economic challenges at home.

However, as with last year, Pope Frances remains the most trusted leader in the world with a net score of +28 (although even he lost points on last year).

Key Findings

Kancho Stoychev, President of Gallup International Association (GIA) said:

“Tensions across the world are growing and leadership is in crisis almost everywhere. Are those tensions growing because of bad leadership or is bad leadership leading to growing tensions is not a productive question. Many point out that the gap between elites and masses is reacting intolerable levels and post WW2 global order is following apart. Mistrust in politics and political systems is on the rise and the fundamental question is not about how to find better representation of the will of the people but how the people can control their elected representatives more effectively.

More direct democracy may be the answer which means that the right thing to ask is how to achieve it following recent negative experiences with the French referendum on the EU constitution, the Dutch one after it and the Brexit challenge”.


The Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. It is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out by the Gallup International Association and partners in 57 countries around the world, representing the population of all G20 countries (except China) and about 57% of the global population.

Reflecting political, cultural or religious specifics some survey questions are not asked in all countries.

The question on political leaders was polled in 49 countries across the globe among a total of 46 952 persons. In each surveyed country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed either face to face, via telephone or online. The margin of error for the survey is between 3% and 5% at 95% confidence level. The field work was conducted during October 2018 – January 2019.