Special Report

The Most Disliked World Leaders

Democratic societies have thrived since the end of World War II, benefitting from relative peace, security, and economic prosperity. Though, as one of the world’s largest democracies, the U.S. faces a unique set of challenges. 

The United States is home to over 335 million people, and weighing their individual values and priorities is a perennial problem for elected leaders. Of all 14 American presidents since April 1945, John F. Kennedy is the only one with an average approval rating above 66% – and most president since Harry Truman have had an average approval rating below 50%. (Here is a look at the states where Biden’s approval rating has fallen the most.)

While rulers of many authoritarian regimes cling to power through violence and suppression of dissent, democratic leaders of the world are held accountable by voters, and must maintain some level of public support to govern effectively. A January 2023 poll conducted by public opinion research company Morning Consult found that some democratic leaders are much better at this than others. (Here is a look at 34 of history’s most ruthless leaders.)

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. Among the leaders on this list, 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. With a disapproval rating of 56%, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is slightly less popular among voters in the U.K. 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. 

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

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