Special Report

The Most Disliked World Leaders in 2023

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As former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said, “democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others that have been tried.” Since the end of World War II, the democratic societies of the world have thrived, benefitting from relative peace, security, and economic prosperity. But while democracy may be the most effective means of governance yet conceived, it is also among the most challenging. (Here is a look at the happiest countries in the world.)

In a country like the United States, democracy means weighing the individual values and priorities of more than 330 million people. As such, leaders of democratic societies are never able to please everyone. Gallup polling data shows that since John F. Kennedy, no U.S. president has had an average approval rating above 70% – and most had approval ratings below 50%.

While rulers of many authoritarian regimes can maintain power through concentrating powers and suppressing anti-regime activities, democratic leaders of the world regularly have to answer to voters and must maintain some level of public support to effectively govern. And according to a recent poll conducted by online public opinion research company Morning Consult, some democratic leaders are much better at this than others. 

Using Morning Consult data for 22 democratic countries, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most disliked leaders in the world. Leaders are ranked by the share of their constituency who disapprove of the job they are doing and listed from the most popular to the least. It is important to note that the pole is updated weekly and these are the ratings as for the period of Jan. 11 through Jan. 17, 2023. Population figures came from the World Bank and are for 2021.

The nearly two dozen countries on this list span five continents and have populations ranging in size from about 5 million to 1.4 billion. Among the leaders of these countries, disapproval ratings range from as low as 20% to nearly 70%. 

According to Morning Consult’s polling, U.S. President Joe Biden has a 52% disapproval rating, the 13th highest on this list. Rishi Sunak, the newly minted British prime minister, is slightly less popular among voters in the U.K., with a disapproval rating of 56%. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ranks in between the U.S. and Great Britain with a disapproval rating of 54%. 

Of the five leaders on this list with the highest disapproval ratings, two are leaders of Asian countries and the remaining three head European countries. (Here is a look at the countries the U.S. government doesn’t want you to go to.)

Click here to see the most disliked world leaders in 2023.

22. Prime Minister Narendra Modi (India)
> Disapproval rating: 20%
> Approval rating: 76%
> No opinion: 5%
> Assumed office: May 2014
> Country population: 1.4 billion

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21. President Alain Berset (Switzerland)
> Disapproval rating: 25%
> Approval rating: 59%
> No opinion: 16%
> Assumed office: January 2023
> Country population: 8.7 million

20. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico)
> Disapproval rating: 28%
> Approval rating: 66%
> No opinion: 6%
> Assumed office: December 2018
> Country population: 126.7 million

19. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Australia)
> Disapproval rating: 28%
> Approval rating: 59%
> No opinion: 13%
> Assumed office: May 2022
> Country population: 25.7 million

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18. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil)
> Disapproval rating: 34%
> Approval rating: 52%
> No opinion: 13%
> Assumed office: January 2023
> Country population: 214.3 million

17. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Italy)
> Disapproval rating: 46%
> Approval rating: 48%
> No opinion: 6%
> Assumed office: October 2022
> Country population: 59.1 million

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16. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Ireland)
> Disapproval rating: 48%
> Approval rating: 39%
> No opinion: 13%
> Assumed office: December 2022
> Country population: 5.0 million

15. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (Sweden)
> Disapproval rating: 48%
> Approval rating: 35%
> No opinion: 16%
> Assumed office: October 2022
> Country population: 10.4 million

14. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Belgium)
> Disapproval rating: 48%
> Approval rating: 34%
> No opinion: 17%
> Assumed office: October 2020
> Country population: 11.6 million

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13. President Joe Biden (United States)
> Disapproval rating: 52%
> Approval rating: 41%
> No opinion: 7%
> Assumed office: January 2021
> Country population: 331.9 million

12. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Canada)
> Disapproval rating: 54%
> Approval rating: 39%
> No opinion: 7%
> Assumed office: November 2015
> Country population: 38.2 million

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11. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (United Kingdom)
> Disapproval rating: 56%
> Approval rating: 31%
> No opinion: 13%
> Assumed office: October 2022
> Country population: 67.3 million

10. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (Spain)
> Disapproval rating: 58%
> Approval rating: 37%
> No opinion: 5%
> Assumed office: June 2018
> Country population: 47.4 million

9. Chancellor Karl Nehammer (Austria)
> Disapproval rating: 60%
> Approval rating: 31%
> No opinion: 10%
> Assumed office: December 2021
> Country population: 9.0 million

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8. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Germany)
> Disapproval rating: 62%
> Approval rating: 32%
> No opinion: 6%
> Assumed office: December 2021
> Country population: 83.2 million

7. President Emmanuel Macron (France)
> Disapproval rating: 63%
> Approval rating: 31%
> No opinion: 6%
> Assumed office: May 2017
> Country population: 67.7 million

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6. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (Poland)
> Disapproval rating: 65%
> Approval rating: 28%
> No opinion: 7%
> Assumed office: December 2017
> Country population: 37.7 million

5. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Japan)
> Disapproval rating: 65%
> Approval rating: 22%
> No opinion: 13%
> Assumed office: October 2021
> Country population: 125.7 million

4. Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Netherlands)
> Disapproval rating: 67%
> Approval rating: 28%
> No opinion: 5%
> Assumed office: October 2010
> Country population: 17.5 million

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3. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Norway)
> Disapproval rating: 67%
> Approval rating: 27%
> No opinion: 6%
> Assumed office: October 2021
> Country population: 5.4 million

2. President Yoon Seok-youl (South Korea)
> Disapproval rating: 67%
> Approval rating: 25%
> No opinion: 8%
> Assumed office: May 2022
> Country population: 51.7 million

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1. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (Czech Republic)
> Disapproval rating: 68%
> Approval rating: 24%
> No opinion: 7%
> Assumed office: November 2021
> Country population: 10.5 million

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