Approval of German Leadership Ties U.S.

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Some analysts believe that Angela Merkel saved Europe financially as Germany backed, perhaps reluctantly, bailout packages to salvage the sovereign debt value of the region’s weakest nation. Merkel has been criticized in her own country for tapping its treasury to help its neighbors, and her re-election chance may therefore have been damaged.

Merkel has inspired admiration abroad. A new poll shows that Germany’s leadership is as widely regarded around the world as that of the US. The two countries tied for the top spot in a new poll.

The U.S. faces significant competition from Germany in terms of its image worldwide. Median worldwide approval of Germany’s leadership rose in 2011 to 47%, essentially tying median approval of U.S. leadership at 46%. Among the other major powers that Gallup asked people about, the leadership of the United Kingdom earns the next highest rating, at 40%, followed by China at 32%, and Russia at 28%.

The presence of Russia and China on the list at all shows that totalitarianism has not gone out of style.

Methodology: Gallup asked residents in more than 130 countries in 2011 — more than ever before — whether they approved or disapproved of the leadership of these five nations.