China, for the first time in history, has pushed ahead of the United States of America in a poll of the countries who have the most positive influence across the globe.
The U.S. might still be considered the primary world-leading nation, with the world’s largest economy and mightiest military, but according to respondents in a recent poll by leading market research group Ipsos MORI, they are not number one when it comes to positive influence in the world.
The poll by international research group Ipsos MORI surveyed 18,000 respondents across 25 countries to measure which countries have the most positive influence globally. Just 40% of respondents viewed America as having a “positive influence on world affairs today.” That is significantly less than China at 49% and not far ahead of Russia at 35%.
Altogether, America’s approval rating has dropped by 24% since last year’s survey. This is the biggest drop in ranking of all 25 countries. Theories suggest this may be due to the world losing confidence in President Trump’s leadership and his “America First” policies.
Meanwhile, topping the poll is Canada with 81% of respondents saying it has a positive influence on world affairs. Australia and Germany come in second and third place respectively.
“Canada enjoyed a positive image around the world even before the arrival of Justin Trudeau,” Michael Clemence, Research Manager at Ipsos MORI, told Business Insider. “So we would have expected to see it sitting at the top of the list of positive global influencers.” Clemence also stated that even a few years ago it would have seemed highly unlikely to see China ranking above the USA as a positive global influence.
According to a 2017 Global Attitudes Survey by Pew Research Group, China is particularly well-liked in Latin America and the Middle East, while the USA fares better in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s growing economy is generally seen as a good thing in most of the countries surveyed. However, in some nations, China’s increasing economic might is considered a threat.
Meanwhile, a weak spot for China’s global image is its human rights record. The views still shared by many Americans, Europeans and Japanese are that the Chinese government does not respect the rights of its own people.
Overall, across 33 nations surveyed in the PEW 2017 Global Attitudes Survey, a median of 48% express a favourable opinion of China. The United States once had a 12-point lead over China in terms of a global median but that lead has shrunk to just 2 points in 2017.