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Pew poll finds American adults have high confidence in Ukrainian President Zelensky, dim view of Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden landed in the middle.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky surrounded by Ukrainian servicemen in Bucha, outside Kyiv, on Monday.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky surrounded by Ukrainian servicemen in Bucha, outside Kyiv, on Monday.
REUTERS/Marko Djurica

In a Pew Research Center poll of U.S. adults seeking their views on six world leaders, President Volodymyr Zelensky came out narrowly ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Okay, that “narrowly” was a joke. In the Pew Survey, when asked how much confidence respondents have in six prominent world leaders, Zelensky scored the highest: combining those who said they had “some” or “a lot” of confidence in the six leaders, Zelensky crushed the field. By 72-26 percent U.S. adults have a positive view of Zelensky. (That 72 percent breaks down to 33 percent who had “a lot of confidence” in Zelensky and 39 percent who said they had “some confidence” in Zelensky. Tough crowd.)

By contrast, two percent of U.S. respondents expressed “a lot of confidence” in Putin, four percent had “some,” for a total six percent who had a positive view of Putin. On the downside, 15 percent said they had “not too much” confidence and 77 percent who had “none at all” in Putin, making him by far the most dimly viewed in the survey. It’s also the lowest ratings for Putin in any Pew Poll since Putin took over in Russia.

In case you’re wondering how U.S. President Joe Biden compares, he kind of splits the difference with 48 percent expressing “some” or “a lot” of confidence in Biden and 52 percent expressing “none” or “not too much” confidence. That mediocre-to-poor ranking left him in just fourth place among the six leaders tested in the survey, ahead of only Putin (who was at the bottom) and Chinese President Xi Jinping who was in fifth place out of six with 83-15 percent negative ratings.

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The leaders of two U.S. allies finished in second and third place, still far behind Zelensky and not too far ahead of Biden. French President Emmanuel Macron had a net 55 percent positive, 42 percent negative, and German Chancellor Olaf had a net 53-43 percent positive.

There’s probably something silly about surveying Americans about foreign leaders. The main finding, although not surprising, is that we’re crazy about Zelensky (no big surprise) and deeply negative on Putin.

For more details, the full Pew writeup with all the numbers can be accessed here.