Who Likes Obama More: Israelis or Iranians?

The U.S. president is the most popular leader worldwide, but not among Israelis, who prefer Germany's Merkel by far.

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An Iranian demonstrator setting an effigy of the U.S. President Barack Obama on fire, during an annual rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, marking 36th anniversary of the seizure of the embassy by militant Iranian students, Iran, Wednesday, October 4, 2015.
An Iranian demonstrator sets an effigy of the U.S. President Barack Obama on fire in Tehran, Oct. 4, 2015. Somehow, Obama scored relatively better in Iran than in Israel in the popularity poll.Credit: AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most popular world leader among Israelis, according to a poll released by WIN/Gallup International on Tuesday.

Moreover, Israelis view U.S. President Barack Obama less favorably than Iranians do.

The poll, conducted by the World Independent Network of Market Research and Gallup International Association, asked residents of 65 countries to indicate whether they had a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of each of 10 world leaders.

President Obama scored highest with a 59 percent favorable rating worldwide, followed by Merkel with 42 percent, British Prime Minister David Cameron with 37 percent, French President Francois Hollande with 35 percent and Russian President Vladimir Putin with 33 percent. Iranian President Hassan Rohani placed last at 19 percent, just behind Saudia Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud with 20 percent.

Each leader was also given an unfavorable rating, as well as a net score comprised of the difference between the first two ratings. Obama had by far the best score worldwide with +30 percent, followed by Merkel and Cameron with +13 percent and +10 percent, respectively. Putin evoked strong emotions, being the third most unpopular leader with a net score of -10 percent, just behind King Salman (-11 percent) and Rohani (-13 percent).

Israelis clearly view Obama much less favorably than most people around the world, giving him a net score of -22 percent. Israel's net score for Obama was 61st in the world, one spot behind Iran, which gave him a -21 percent net rating.

Obama's net score in Israel placed him in between Putin (-20 percent) and China's Xi Jinping (-22 percent). In contrast, Israelis gave Merkel a +38 percent net score, far ahead of Cameron, who got +15 percent.

Israelis view Rohani less favorably than citizens of any other country, giving him -89 percent. Israelis gave a -50 percent net score to the Saudi king, while Iranians gave him a -71 percent.

Aside from Cameron and Merkel, the only world leader given a positive net score by Israelis was India's Narendra Modi at 13 percent.

The WIN/Gallup International End of Year Survey is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977.