A new survey asked Canadians how they would describe various world leaders. Image: Angus Reid Institute

What Canadians think of world leaders


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Leaders of the world’s G7 countries are gathering in Canada this week for the G7 Summit. It is expected as usual that cordiality among them will be the rule, with smiles and handshakes for the cameras. One wonders what their opinions of each other might be behind the smiles

Certainly there are serious differences of policies, notably for example between the U.S. and Canada where a major trade dispute has come about, with tariffs and counter-tariffs being levied.

A new survey of what Canadians think of these important leaders and four others from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russian, India, China)  shows some interesting results

The poll, by the the firm Angus Ried, shows U.S. President Donald Trump getting the most negative results, while Canada’s leader being described almost equally with positive and negative words

Respondents to the survey were given a list of 24 words to describe the world leaders, and from that they were asked to choose up to six of those words to describe each leader.

leaders of India, Japan, and Brazil are largely unknown by Canadians

A surprising number of Canadians don’t know leaders of major countries. Image: Angus Reid Institute

Canada’s Justin Trudeau was described as “charismatic” by 45 per cent of Canadians, and “weak” by 31 per cent, equal to “compassionate” and almost equal to “arrogant” (28%) and “bumbling (27%).

Donald Trump was rated as “arrogant” by 74 per cent of Canadians in the poll, followed by words like, liar, bully, dishonest, and corrupt

As for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, 63 per cent described him as “corrupt” which was several points higher than the  52% who felt he was corrupt in a 2014 poll.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, who’s recent German ratings show an 57 per cent approval (but slipping) at home was described positively by Canadians as “strong” (42%) followed by words like influential and credible.

Survey words to choose from:
[randomize terms]    [Anchor, exclusive] I do not know who this person is Secretive, Arrogant, Dishonest, Strategic, Boring, Liar, Uncaring, Bully, Corrupt, Strong, Influential, Credible, Honest, Down to earth, Ethical, Compassionate, Cowardly, Weak, Bumbling, Courageous, Charismatic, Unimportant, Inspiring, Transparent

China’s leader is Xi Jinping.  In 2014, only 39 per cent of Canadians knew who he was, but this year, that increased to 55 per cent.   Of those who knew of him, 27 percent used the descriptor “influential”, followed by secretive and strategic.

Surprisingly an almost equal number of Canadians who didn’t know who the Chinese leader ia, also didn’t know who Emmanuel Macron is (44%)   Of those who knew of the French president, 21 per cent used the word charismatic, followed by influential, credible, strategic, and strong.

England’s Teresa May was described by Canadians positively as strong, credible, influential, strategic and courageous.

As for the leader of Japan, 64 per cent of Canadians were unfamiliar with Shinzo Abe, while 75 per cent didn’t know who Narenda Modi is, in spite of Trudeau’s trip to India, which garnered headlines in Canada, generally negative.  Even less known is the leader of Brazil. Nine out of ten Canadians don’t recognize Michel Temer, who took over after Brazil’s previous leader Dilma Roussef was impeached in 2016

additional information-sources

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