Fewer global citizens believe China will have positive influence on world affairs in coming decade

Ipsos polling for Halifax Security Forum reveals just 42% believe China will have a positive impact, down 11 points since last year.

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global Service Line Leader, Public Affairs, Canada
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The year 2020 has seen a precipitous drop in the proportion of global citizens who believe that China will have a positive influence on global affairs in the next decade, according to the 11th year of polling by Ipsos for the Halifax International Security Forum.

The survey of over 21,000 citizens in 28 countries around the world reveals that just 42% of global citizens say that China will have an overall positive influence, down 11 points since last year. Throughout this past decade, a growing proportion believed China would have a positive influence, peaking at 58% in 2017. However, in 2018 and 2019, only 53% believed the same, and now only 42% think China’s influence will be positive in the next decade.

China isn’t the only country whose scores have dropped considerably in the last number of years. Back in 2016, under an Obama administration, 64% believed that the United States would have a positive influence in world affairs, which dropped to 55% in 2017 after the election of Donald Trump as President, and has deteriorated further to 50% in 2020.

The full list of countries and organizations tested follows, along with the change since last year’s poll. Canada continues to hold top spot, while Iran is on the bottom. Great Britain is most improved (66%, +4) since last year, followed by Germany (78%, +3), Saudi Arabia (42%, +3), and Israel (39%, +3). Those countries/organizations declining in stature since last year include China (42%, -11), the United States (50%, -2), India (50%, -2), the United Nations (69%, -2) and France (70%, -1).

There is no uniformity in opinion among respondents of various countries, however, with some firmly believing in another country’s positive influence, while others are equally skeptical.

  • Reflecting on China’s influence (42% overall), those in Russia (81%), Mexico (72%), Malaysia (68%), Peru (67%) and Saudi Arabia (65%) are most likely to believe China’s influence in the next decade will be positive, while those in Great Britain (19%), Canada (21%), Germany (24%), Australia (24%), Japan (24%), the United States (24%) and France (24%) are least likely.
  • On the United States’ influence (50% overall), those in India (81%), Brazil (75%), Peru (68%), Colombia (67%), Poland (65%) and South Africa (65%) are most inclined to believe that the US will have a positive influence on world affairs, while those in Germany (22%), Belgium (28%), Sweden (29%), the Netherlands (29%) and Canada (30%) are least likely.
  • On leader Canada (81% overall), those in Colombia (94%), Mexico (92%), Great Britain (90%), Australia (90%), Peru (89%) and the United States (88%) are most likely to believe in Canada’s positive influence, while those in China (59%), Russia (62%) Turkey (70%), Malaysia (70%), Saudi Arabia (71%) and Italy (71%) are less inclined to believe this.
  • Reflecting on the United Nations (69% overall), those in Mexico (83%), India (83%), China (81%), Peru (81%), Colombia (81%) and South Africa (81%) are most likely to believe in the positive influence of the UN, while those in Spain (42%), Turkey (50%), France (54%), Belgium (58%), Japan (58%) and Italy (58%) are less positive in their assessment.
  • Regarding NATO (60% overall), those in Poland (77%), Great Britain (73%), India (72%), the Netherlands (69%) and Canada (66%) are most optimistic for NATO’s positive influence in the next decade, while residents of Russia (29%), Turkey (46%), France (48%), Argentina (50%), Malaysia (52%) and China (54%) are much less convinced.

Proportion of Global Citizens who Believe Each Country/Organization will have an Overall Positive Influence on World Affairs in Next Decade


These are the findings of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey conducted between August 21st and September 4th, 2020. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 21,104 adults aged 18-74 in the US and Canada, and age 16-74 in all other countries, were interviewed.

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global Service Line Leader, Public Affairs, Canada