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Obama and Mandela Way More Popular Than
Trump and Putin

Amsterdam, 17 July 2018

International Glocalities surveys reveal that Barack Obama in 2016 and the late Nelson Mandela in 2014 were 3 times as popular in the world population compared to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin nowadays. In 18 out of 20 countries surveyed around the world Obama and Mandela top Trump and Putin, except for Russia and Japan. Furthermore, the survey shows that Putin is popular among Trump fans and Trump is popular among Putin fans. Today Obama gives a speech to young leaders in Johannesburg in advance of the Mandela Centennial and yesterday Trump and Putin met in Helsinki.

Statistics president popularity

The international surveys were conducted by the Amsterdam based research agency Glocalities among 144,282 respondents from 20 countries in 3 waves in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Yesterday Glocalities released a global study on Mandela’s dream to Make Poverty History in one generation. UN figures show that every single day 250,000 people get out of extreme poverty. In times of growing tensions and global pessimism, the Glocalities research shows that people who know the facts about progress being made in the world are far more optimistic about the future than the majority of people who are unaware of progress.

Glocalities Research Director Martijn Lampert says:

‘’Trump and Putin represent a leadership style directly opposed to the open world view of Obama and Mandela. Amidst authoritarian trends it is striking to see that only a few years ago Obama and Mandela were way more popular than Trump and Putin nowadays. There is an unmet potential for global leadership based on optimism and hope for a better world.’’

The following graph presents the popularity of world leaders by country, based on the percentage of people who chose that leader as an appealing person from a list of more than 35 international personalities.

The popularity of World Leaders by Country

Popularity of world leaders by country

About Glocalities and the survey:

Glocalities is an Amsterdam based international research agency and part of Motivaction International. The values-based Glocalities survey was conducted in 2014, 2016 and 2018 in two phases in January and February 2018. In all 3 waves, the survey was held in the following 20 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. In the 3 waves of the study in total 144,282 respondents participated. The surveys were conducted through the online research panels of SSI and Lightspeed GMI, two agencies that are specialized in international fieldwork.

Quotas were set beforehand and the datasets were weighted according to national census data. Each country has an equal weight in the total dataset when conducting international analyses. The questionnaire was translated from the English source questionnaire by professional translators. The translated texts were then back-translated by other professional translators.


Martijn Lampert

Research Director

+31 20 589 83 70

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