Domestic current affairs, political developments and their protagonists virtually dominate political surveys and opinion polls. In the rather rare event that pollsters get a chance to survey international personalities or issues, and what Greeks think about them, the results are always interesting.
This is confirmed in the latest Pulse RC survey that was commissioned by Kathimerini newspaper. The poll recorded what Greeks think about six countries, the European Union and their leaders, with regard to their stance on Greece.
Opinion polls gauge social attitudes at a given point in time and in relation to a set of specific questions. Given media headlines over the previous months, it should come as no surprise that less than 10 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Turkey. The same goes for the poor performance of Germany and Russia. Meanwhile, responses put the European Union near the middle of the table, with negative opinions outscoring positive evaluations.
It’s worth analyzing the countries with the best image. France, a traditional ally of Greece, enjoys the best reputation. Six in 10 Greeks said they had a positive opinion of France’s stance toward Greece. China, a country which has heavily invested in the local economy and which has no differences with Greece, was a distant second. The third spot was taken by the United States, as 49 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the country. It is not the first time that the US has received high ratings from Greeks in recent years, although these tend to fluctuate (it must be noted that conclusions are not based on directly comparable surveys): Pew Research Center US Global Image and Anti-Americanism (2017): 43 percent, US Global Image and Anti-Americanism (2018): 36 percent, preferred global leadership 2018: 46 percent.
Meanwhile, back in September the US was the honored country at the Thessaloniki International Fair in northern Greece, where American representatives had a strong presence. The US scored one of the highest ratings in Greece, in spite of the low popularity of its president, Donald Trump, which stood at 27 percent. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the only leader to receive lower marks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping got moderate ratings. However, the Chinese leader received more favorable assessments and his ranking was mainly due to his low recognizability: Half of respondents said they did not recognize him, they had no opinion of him, or failed to respond. The performances of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Russian President Vladimir Putin were equally remarkable. Both scored above 40 percent, exceeding the ratings of the EU and Russia respectively. French President Emmanuel Macron topped the popularity list, receiving more favorable opinions than unfavorable ones, and high approval ratings. He also topped all population subgroups reflecting gender, age and voting behavior.
Giorgos Arapoglou is general manager at Pulse RC.
Also read: Survey: France, China popular among Greeks