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Obama, Dalai Lama are top of pops for world leaders


United States President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama are the world's two most popular leaders according to the results of a Radio France International and France 24 "world leaders barometer", published Friday.

Obama won 77 per cent backing, in the sixth wave of the survey, which was carried out by Harris Interactive. This is one percentage point higher than in November.

The Tibetan spiritual leader came into second place at 75 per cent, followed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at 62 per cent.

This survey regularly examines the popularity and perceived influence of leading political and spiritual leaders around the world.

This time round, a new feature has been integrated: respondents have been asked to evaluate the personalities of the 21 leaders.

Recent scandals aside, Pope Benedict XVI was the seventh most popular leader, with 36 per cent support.

The survey was carried out on the internet between 31 March and 12 April, and covered 6,135 adults aged between 16 and 64 in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel took out fourth position with 54 per cent support. She was followed by embattled French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who tied for fifth place with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at 37 per cent.

The most unpopular leaders, according to the survey, were Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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