Canada, Germany remain top countries expected to have a positive influence on world affairs

Ipsos survey for Halifax International Security Forum finds Iran, Russia are considered the least likely to have a positive impact on world affairs over the next decade

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Canada, Public Affairs
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Russia’s public image has suffered a significant decline on the heels of its invasion of Ukraine almost nine months ago.

As the invasion drags on, expectations that Russia will have a positive influence on world affairs have dropped, according to new polling of more than 32,000 people by Ipsos for the Halifax International Security Forum. Across 33 countries surveyed, an average of 29% say that Russia will have an overall positive influence on world affairs in the next decade, down 16 points from 2021.

On the other end of the spectrum, the survey conducted on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform between September 23 and October 7, 2022, finds Canada (+1 point to 81% from 2021) and Germany (-2 pts to 75%) remain the two countries mostly widely expected to have a positive influence for the 6th year in a row after tying for first place in 2016.

Drop for Russia, rise for Great Britain, NATO and Saudi Arabia

Russia is the only country or international institution Ipsos measured showing a serious slide (-16 pts to 29%) in the perception of its positive influence year over year. Meanwhile, three other world influencers that also made headlines this year rose five points (NATO to 65%, Great Britain to 69% and Saudi Arabia to 45%) when it comes to the percentage of people who think each will have a positive influence on world affairs between 2022-2032.

Russia’s reputation takes a dive in many countries

Before the invasion of Ukraine, almost half (45%) of people around the world in 2021 thought Russia would have a positive influence on the world — unsurprisingly, that perception dropped significantly in 2022 to 29%.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, negative views about Russia’s influence have gained steam in nearly every country surveyed. The outlier is Saudi Arabia, where the percentage of people saying Russia will have a positive influence on the world rose 7 points. And while the percentage of people that thinks Russia will have a positive influence dropped, it remained at or above 50 per cent in: China (-11 pts to 74%), India (-7 pts to 70%), Indonesia (65%, new this year) and the UAE (59%, new this year), Saudi Arabia (+7 pts to 59%) and Malaysia (-15 pts to 51%).

Elsewhere, the proportion of those saying Russia will have a positive influence shows a significant slide since last year, with drops of proportions of 10 points or more in 20 countries. Those showing the largest drops from last year include Colombia (-33 pts to 32%), Mexico (-31 pts to 43%) and Chile (-28 pts to 25%). While the percentage of people who thought Russia would have a positive impact on the world dropped the least in Great Britain (-1 pt to 19%) that’s likely due to Brits already having a relatively negative view of Russia’s influence in 2021.

No rebound for China after 2020 slump

Meanwhile, China’s reputation has yet to rebound from 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The average proportion of people globally saying China will have a positive influence on world affairs dropped from 53% in 2019 to 42% in 2020, rose ever so slightly to 43% in 2021 and is now back at 42% in 2022.

Iran at the bottom again

Iran (+4 pts to 28%) followed very closely by Russia (-16 pts to 29%) are the two countries measured in the survey that are least expected to have a positive influence on world affairs. Iran has historically been seen to have a largely negative influence on world affairs, yet despite mass protests there this fall the percentage of people saying Iran will have a positive influence on world affairs over the next decade rose 4 percentage points from 24% in 2021. While the percentage of people who think Iran will have a positive influence rose in 12 countries only the majority in three countries hold this view — Indonesia (55%, new), China (-4 pts to 55%) and India (+10 pts to 63%). 

Diverse views of countries, organisations across the world

The assessment of the influence of many countries and organizations is clearly not uniform around the world. The most polarizing countries and organizations measured are those showing an especially large difference between their positive influence percentages in the country where it is highest (excluding itself) and where it is lowest. By this measure, the most polarizing countries are Russia (with a difference of 68 points between 74% of positive views in China and only 6% in Poland), Saudi Arabia (76-point range) and China (56-point range). In contrast, the range of views is much narrower when it comes to the positive influence of the United Nations (29-point range), Germany (30-point range) and the E.U. (34-point range).

Here’s where the expectation of the U.S., Canada, China, the E.U. and NATO is highest and lowest:

U.S (64% global country average):

  • Highest in Ukraine (90%), India (83%) and Poland (80%)
  • Lowest in China (38%), Turkey (46%) and Hungary (50%)

Canada (81% global country average):

  • Highest in Ukraine (95%), Peru (90%), Colombia and Mexico (both at 89%)
  • Lowest in China (54%), Saudi Arabia (68%) and Turkey (69%)

NATO (65% global country average):

  • Highest in Ukraine (88%), Poland (84%), Great Britain and the Netherlands tied at 76%
  • Lowest in China (45%), Argentina (49%) and Malaysia (50%)

E.U (71% global country average):

  • Highest in Ukraine (90%), Peru (80%) and India (79%)
  • Lowest in China (56%), Turkey and Hungary tied at 59%

About this study 

These are the results of a 33-market survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 32,507 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia, and 16-74 in 27 other markets between Friday, September 23 and Friday, October 7, 2022.


Table of content

  1. Nuclear, biological or chemical attack now seen as top threat facing the world
  2. Worry about possible worldwide conflict rises
  3. Canada, Germany remain top countries expected to have a positive influence on world affairs
  4. Most global citizens (85%) say world needs new international agreements and Institutions led by world’s democracies

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Canada, Public Affairs

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