John Key sits beneath Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon and above Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dun.
The New Zealand prime minister ranks ninth in the Gallup survey (see below) of leader approval ratings in 21 nations in the Asian region, with 72% saying they approved of Key’s job performance, 24% disapproving, and 4% confused or profoundly shy or something.
The survey by the Washington-based Gallup, which polled 1,000 people in each country, has attracted widespread coverage across the region, but as far as I can tell has been overlooked in New Zealand.
Choummaly Sayasone of Laos is top of the pile, with a stonking 97% approval. Propping up the bottom, meanwhile, is the controversial Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, with a miserable 20% approving and 77% disapproving. Australia’s Julia Gillard is at 45% approval versus 49% approval – though those are figures measure last year; it’s doubtful whether she’d do as well today.
Poor results for Afganistan’s Hamid Karzai and Hong Kong’s Donald Tsang who are fourth-to-last and third-to-last respectively. China does not feature.
The New Zealand data was collected in a landline telephone poll conducted between September and November last year, ie the period before the election. John Key was enjoying more than 50% support in the preferred PM ranks in polling, and while recent polls (such as this) suggest that’s slipped slightly south of the 50% mark he remains in a healthy lead.
Some analysis from the Gallup release:
Economic stability and peace dividends may help explain some of the relatively high approval that leaders of Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka get from their constituents. Laos’ 7% or better economic growth since 2008, for example, likely contributes to residents’ approval of President Choummali Saignason. Saignason, who is not elected by popular vote, was re-elected by the country’s National Assembly shortly before Gallup’s surveys started. Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka may still be benefiting from residents’ residual euphoria following the 2009 end of the country’s 26-year civil war.
In contrast, political discord, internal strife, and geo-political complexities likely affected approval ratings for leaders in Hong Kong, Nepal, and Pakistan. Pakistanis have never placed much confidence in President Asif Ali Zardari’s leadership; throughout his tenure, the country has grappled with terrorism, challenging relations with the U.S., and a struggling economy. Donald Tsang of Hong Kong leaves office in July amid concerns about China’s increasingly active role in the former British protectorate and controversies over gifts, travel, and lodging received from business leaders.