Exploring Elon Musk’s favorability across 17 international markets
November 10th, 2023, Christien Pheby

Exploring Elon Musk’s favorability across 17 international markets

Whether he’s being interviewed by the UK Prime Minister or getting into trouble with the American Securities and Exchange Commission, Elon Musk is rarely out of the headlines. But, in an effort to better understand how leadership can impact commercial performance, we asked  people around the world what they actually think of the Tesla CEO, X/Twitter owner, and – depending on the day – richest man in the world?

We polled people in 17 international markets and, on average, people are more negative than positive: 37% say they have an unfavorable opinion of the entrepreneur, 33% are favorable, and 31% say they don’t know.

But opinion varies heavily from market to market.

The public in India (57%) are most likely to have a positive opinion of Musk – who earlier this year met Narendra Modi in New York and stated his desire to bring Tesla to the country “as soon as humanly possible.” Consumers in the UAE are similarly well-disposed towards the billionaire (56%), who appeared at Dubai’s World Government Summit in February of this year. People in Hong Kong (53%), Mexico (51%), and Indonesia (49%) are also more favorable about him than not.

In every other market, however, consumers are more negative. Most notably, Britons are largely unimpressed with Musk: nearly three in five (57%) say they have an unfavorable opinion of him, with just one in five (20%) saying they have a positive opinion. Multiple YouGov polls this year have shown that his decisions in charge of X/Twitter have been broadly unpopular.

In Germany, where the government recently rebuked Musk for criticizing refugee rescue operations, 50% of the public are negative, while 21% are positive. Except for Poland (where 26% are favorable and 27% unfavorable – a difference within the margin of error), Musk is more unpopular than popular in the remaining European markets we surveyed, especially Spain (21% favorable vs. 45% unfavorable) and France (20% vs. 40%). That said, consumers in Italy (29% vs. 32%) are more evenly split.

Outside of Mexico, the American markets we polled are more anti than pro-Musk: people in the US (35% favorable vs. 45% unfavorable) and Canada (29% vs. 44%) are more likely to have a bad opinion of him than a good one.

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between October/November 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.