What do Britons think of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
March 17, 2022, 11:31 AM GMT+0

85% of Britons say they have heard of the Ukrainian leader

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has won admirers across the world for rallying his country in the face of Russian aggression, and his decision to stay in Kyiv despite the proximity of Russian forces and covert hit squads in the capital looking to assassinate him.

Now new YouGov data shows that two thirds of Britons (67%) have a favourable opinion of Zelenskyy, including 43% who have a “very” favourable view. Only 7% have a negative view. Another 15% say they have never heard of the Ukrainian president, meaning that of the people who have heard of him, 79% have a favourable view.

By contrast, Russian president Vladimir Putin is near-universally reviled. Fully 92% of Britons have an unfavourable view of him, including 87% with a “very unfavourable” view. Just 2% say they have a favourable view.

The survey of attitudes to world leaders shows that the British public are divided on Joe Biden, with 40% thinking positively of him but 42% thinking negatively. Britons are, however, more likely to have a “very unfavourable” view of the US president (15%) than a “very favourable” one (4%).

Currently, a third of Britons (34%) have a negative view of Boris Johnson, versus 57% who have a positive one. This compares to 66% who had an unfavourable view of the prime minister a week prior to the invasion of Ukraine, and 27% who had a favourable one.

French president Emmanuel Macron is seem positively by 28% of Britons and negatively by 45%.

Finally, the new German chancellor – Olaf Scholz – remains largely unknown to the British public three months into his tenure. Half (52%) say they have not heard of him, while a further 21% have but don’t know what to make of him. Around one in six (16%) have a favourable view of the SPD politician, while 11% hold an unfavourable view.

By contrast, only 7% of Britons had not heard of Angela Merkel in July 2021. At the eve of her departure, 46% of Britons had a positive view of the then-chancellor vs 31% who had an negative one.

See the full results here