Prime Minister Narendra Modi was placed No 2, behind Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a list of 30 top-performing world leaders by a Japanese market research firm.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on the third place in the list that also measured the confidence of citizens in their leaders.
The survey of more than 26,000 respondents, conducted this fall by Tokyo-based GMO Research rated Xi, Modi, and Merkel the top-performing world leaders, with scores of 7.5, 7.3, and 7.2 respectively on a scale of one to 10.
The survey results were published by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and were analysed by Anthony Saich, a China expert at the school.
The top three were followed by French President Francois Hollande (6.3), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (6.1), and Putin (6.0) at the bottom.
Obama (6.6) received middling marks, just ahead of British Prime Minister David Cameron (6.5).
In regards to the confidence citizens have in how their leaders handle domestic and international affairs, Xi topped the list in both categories at 94.8 per cent and 93.8 per cent respectively, with Modi slightly trailing behind with 93.2 per cent and 93.3 per cent respectively.
Russian President Putin came in third with 86.2 per cent and 86 per cent.
Elaborating on the high ratings Xi got, Saich said “in countries where a single party dominates, or where public debate about political leaders is constrained, citizens typically rated their own officials much higher than did respondents in nations with a multi-party system and a more open and robust press.”
On Modi’s performance in the list, Saich said: “Two things did surprise me — how well Modi came out. I just put that down to the fact that he’d only just been elected and so I suspect that a lot of people didn’t really know very much about him, and his own nationals were probably still in the phase of him having won the election.”
Other than these leaders, the survey also featured Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma.
The survey questioned people from 30 countries, including 12 from Asia, four each from Africa and the Americas, eight from Europe and two from Oceania — Australia and New Zealand.