Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s federal parliament, or Bundestag, back in 2015.
Adam Berry | Getty Images News | Getty Images
As Germany’s long-serving chancellor, Angela Merkel, prepares to leave office after 16 years in power, global popular opinion of her remains overwhelmingly positive — a feat not often achieved by departing global leaders.
Polls of over 17,000 people in 16 advanced economies around the world from North America to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that public confidence in Merkel is high. In the surveys, 77% of respondents expressed confidence in Merkel to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” while 79% overall had a favorable view of Germany.
“Majorities in nearly every public surveyed have confidence in Merkel to do the right thing in world affairs, including nine-in-ten in the Netherlands and Sweden,” Pew’s Janell Fetterolf and Shannon Schumacher said on the findings, which were based on surveys conducted from Feb. to May.
“Merkel has enjoyed generally high ratings in a number of countries since she first took office, with confidence growing as more people became familiar with her over time. In most places surveyed, trust in the German chancellor has never been higher,” they added.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the then-US President Barack Obama on November 18, 2016 in Berlin.
Tobias Schwarz | AFP | Getty Images
Merkel currently enjoys the highest confidence ratings of the five world leaders asked about in the survey. She receives considerably higher marks than Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Merkel also fares well compared with French President Emmanuel Macron and, in many places, U.S. President Joe Biden.
The Pew polls, which did not include any data from Germany, show that the majority of people in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region have very positive views of Germany, opinions only bolstered by the country’s apparently calm and collected approach to the Covid-19 crisis.
A median of 79% across 16 publics have a favorable opinion of Germany, while only 16% have an unfavorable one. Germany is also viewed more positively than the U.S. and China in most countries surveyed too.
In several of the European countries polled, Pew has gauged the level of favorable (or unfavorable) opinion toward Germany prior to Merkel taking office in 2006. It noted that in some countries like the U.K., Spain and France, views of Germany have not changed much over the past two decades.
“Roughly seven-in-ten or more have expressed a positive opinion of Germany in Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, France and the U.K. in each year this question has been asked,” Pew noted.
In the last year or so, however, favorable views of Germany and Merkel have been influenced, at least in part, by perceptions of how Germany handled the coronavirus outbreak, it noted.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets the crowds in Frankfurt, Germany.
Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images News | Getty Images
A median of 66% say Germany did a good job dealing with the outbreak, and again, Germany fares well…