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Popularity contest for world leaders from France 24

The French international channel France 24 has carried out a 'popularity and influence' survey in various countries across the world.

The upshot is that Obama and the Dalai Lama are the most popular leaders in the world, with Angela Merkel coming in at number three.

The Pope, interestingly, comes in a number five, ahead of Nicholas Sarkozy. In the UK, Benedict the XVI is considered as more popular and more influential than both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which should give the British press something to meditate upon.

I am not sure what this information really means. Commentators have suggested that the high score for the Dalai Lama is something to do with 'boboisme' ... He is certainly very much in fashion in France. But the high score for Benedict XVI suggests to me that there are many people out there (at least a third of the population) who think he has something important to teaching the modern world.

The full report is online (as a pdf) at: http://media.rtl.fr/online/binary/2009/1203/5930975692_Sondage-World-leaders.pdf

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