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No Soft Power Shake-Ups for Now

This article is the first in a series detailing the results from the latest Rating World Leaders report, which analyzes trends in approval ratings of the leadership of the U.S., Germany, Russia and China in over 130 countries.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Joe Biden may not have fully restored the image of the U.S. abroad, but it is in better condition now than it was under his predecessor and likely rival in the November election.

A new Gallup report based on surveys in over 130 countries and territories shows that the median global approval rating of U.S. leadership stood at 41% in 2023, down from 45% during Biden’s first year in office but unchanged from his second.

Historically, the 41% approval rating is lower than all but one of the ratings under President Barack Obama but is higher than any of those under Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush.


Biden began his term with strong approval ratings that rivaled Obama’s when he first took office. Median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 49% until the often-criticized U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. The United States’ overall rating slipped after that, and Biden ended his first full year in office with a 45% global approval rating and a 33% disapproval rating.

Approval ratings declined further in Biden’s second year, and since then, median approval of U.S. leadership abroad has been stuck at 41%. Disapproval crept up to 36% in 2023.

Notably, ratings of U.S. leadership approval in the 83 countries and territories surveyed before the outbreak of war between close U.S. ally Israel and Hamas in October 2023 stood at 42%. Across 51 additional countries and territories surveyed after the war started, median approval was not much different, at 39%.

U.S. Suffers Notable Losses and Makes Sizable Gains

Although its average approval rating did not change, the image of the U.S. was diminished in the eyes of several key U.S. global partners. In Ukraine, new NATO member Finland, Kenya and India, approval ratings dropped by at least 10 percentage points.


After reaching a record high of 66% in 2022, approval of U.S. leadership in Ukraine dropped significantly to 53% amid growing opposition to Ukraine aid in the U.S. Ratings in India, too, declined from record highs. After nearly brushing 50% in 2022, approval ratings of U.S. leadership dropped to 38% amid tensions between the two countries.

At the same time, ratings of U.S. leadership increased substantially -- by 10 points or more -- in 13 countries. More than half of the countries with substantial increases were in sub-Saharan and North Africa.

Approval of U.S. leadership also soared to record highs in Israel; 81% of Israelis surveyed two weeks after the Hamas attacks said they approved of U.S. leadership.

Germany on Top for Seventh Straight Year

In addition to asking about U.S. leadership each year, Gallup also asks the world about the leadership of other global powers, including Germany, China and Russia.

In the second full year under Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany remained the top-rated global power for the seventh year in a row. In 2023, median approval of Germany’s leadership across 134 countries and territories stood at 46% -- unchanged from 2022. Both ratings are down from 50% in 2021 but are still higher than most throughout former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lengthy tenure.


Germany and the U.S. continued to net higher approval ratings than China or Russia. China’s approval rating edged up slightly to 30% but was still on the lower end of its trend. Russia’s global approval rating of 22% in 2023 is statistically as poor as its 21% rating after it invaded Ukraine in late February 2022.

Majority of the World Disapproves of Russia

While the U.S. and its allies in Europe condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, approval of Russia dropped in virtually every region of the world in 2022, providing evidence that the rebuke of its actions was much broader. As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on, disdain remains just as strong in Europe. However, there are signs it is softening elsewhere, particularly in Africa.


Disapproval of Russia’s leadership was almost as high as it was in the first year of the war. Across 134 countries and territories surveyed in 2023, a median of 53% said they disapproved of Russia’s leadership, down slightly from the record-high 57% in 2022.

Majorities in 71 countries surveyed disapproved of Russian leadership. High-income, Western-aligned democracies tended to give the highest disapproval ratings, with figures exceeding 90% in 11 European countries -- including Ukraine, where 93% disapproved.

Bottom Line

With more than half of the world going to the ballot box this year, including in the United States, many of the players on the global stage could change. A change in the U.S. could potentially reshape foreign policy and shake up the global order. But for now, the status quo remains.

Although they earn the highest approval ratings from the world, it’s important to note that neither the U.S. nor Germany received a global endorsement of their leadership -- and these ratings are subject to change. Still, both continue to be in much stronger positions than China and Russia, whose approval rating remained near a record low after its invasion of Ukraine.

Read the full report.

Next week on Gallup News: Inside the U.S. and China’s Competition for Hearts and Minds

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For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.


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