Monday Open Thread

Originally posted by Ahistoricality on 09/10/07

Over the past couple of months, the sidebar polls have been an interesting experiment, and it’s time to look at the results. The first poll we did asked you to pick the world leaders (i.e. leaders of individual nations) about which you had a positive opinion. Thirty of you voted, for a total of 96 selections. The second poll asked you to pick the world leaders about which you had a negative opinion. Again, thirty people voted, but with a total of 166 selections. On average, you have stronger negative feelings about world leaders than positive ones; that’s the first conclusion. Now let’s look at the tabulated results: I’ve inverted the positive vote results, so they should, if we are reasonably consistent, be very similar lists.

Negative Opinion (worst at top) ……. Positive Opinion (worst at top)
George W. Bush (United States) 25 votes George W. Bush (United States) 0 votes
Nicolas Sarkozy (France) 15 votes Laurent Kabila (Democratic Republic of Congo) 0 votes
Stephen Harper (Canada) 14 votes Felipe Calderon (Mexico) 0 votes
Fidel Castro (Cuba) 13 votes Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia) 0 votes
Hu Jintao (China) 13 votes Nicolas Sarkozy (France) 1 votes
Laurent Kabila (Democratic Republic of Congo) 11 votes Stephen Harper (Canada) 1 votes
Felipe Calderon (Mexico) 11 votes Hu Jintao (China) 1 votes
Shinzo Abe (Japan) 10 votes Shinzo Abe (Japan) 2 votes
Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) 10 votes Vojislav Kostunica (Serbia) 2 votes
Thabo Mbeke (South Africa) 7 votes Thabo Mbeke (South Africa) 3 votes
Vojislav Kostunica (Serbia) 6 votes Roh Moo-Hyun (South Korea) 3 votes
Gordon Brown (United Kingdom) 6 votes Fidel Castro (Cuba) 4 votes
Nestor Kirchner (Argentina) 4 votes Angela Merkel (Germany) 7 votes
Angela Merkel (Germany) 4 votes Nestor Kirchner (Argentina) 7 votes
Romano Prodi (Italy) 4 votes Romano Prodi (Italy) 9 votes
Evo Morales (Bolivia) 4 votes Evo Morales (Bolivia) 10 votes
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia) 3 votes Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) 11 votes
Roh Moo-Hyun (South Korea) 2 votes Gordon Brown (United Kingdom) 11 votes
“Lula” Da Silva (Brazil) 2 votes “Lula” Da Silva (Brazil) 12 votes
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain) 2 votes Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain) 12 votes
Total votes: 166 Total Votes: 96
Total voters: 30 Total voters: 30

Analysis below the jump:

First, of course the caveats. Nonpartisan selected the leaders without any idea that I was going to turn this into an event; if your favorite, or least favorite, leaders are missing, chalk it up to the vagaries of fate.  If it’s not blazingly obvious at this point, this isn’t a “scientific” poll; it barely qualifies as a “pseudo-scientific” poll, but I’m going to look at the results anyway. Historians are trained to handle incomplete, biased and otherwise flawed data.

The most obvious thing is to look for anomalies, leaders who are in significantly different positions on the list. For control, I’ll just note that a lot of leaders ended up in pretty similar positions: Bush at the top (least liked) and Da Silva and Zapatero at the bottom (most liked). Merkel and Kircher and Prodi and Morales and Mbeki and Abe are all close to themselves in both lists. A few Asian leaders should just be considered “obscure” with very few positive or negative votes: Roh of South Korea and Yudhoyono of Indonesia.

The biggest anomalies that I can see are Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Castro got very strong negatives, but mid-range positives; Chavez got strong positives, but mid-range negatives. Gordon Brown of England also got strong positives and mid-range negatives; since he just replaced Blair, I imagine that’s mostly what’s registering.

Your thoughts?

What’s on your minds?


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