Several New Polls Probe American and Global Attitudes Towards the United Nations

A series of new public opinion polls reveals American and international attitudes towards international cooperation and the United Nations.

Just weeks before the US elections, the bi-partisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates conducted a poll of 800 registered voters on behalf of the Better World Campaign. The poll finds that American voters overwhelmingly support US maintaining active engagement in the United Nations — with 85% of voters saying this is “very important” or “somewhat important.” The poll also finds that six in ten US voters believe the UN supports American objectives around the world. This poll of registered voters also revealed a well of support for the World Health Organization, despite President Trump’s repeated efforts to scapegoat the WHO for his own failings. “Six in ten voters expressed a favorable opinion of WHO,” finds the survey. “In stark contrast to that decision, two-thirds of voters (67%) stated that the U.S. should not withdraw from WHO.”

A separate recent poll released by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs takes a deep dive into how partisan affiliations influence global outlook.

Chicago Council

From the poll:

Democrats also strongly advocate addressing global problems by working within the international community, pursuing solutions such as increasing US participation in international organizations (63%), providing humanitarian aid (59%), and signing international agreements (55%). They also say that international organizations should be more involved, including the World Health Organization (71%), the United Nations (68%), and the World Trade Organization (53%). Compared with Republicans, they are more likely to strongly agree that “problems like climate change and pandemics are so big that no country can solve them alone, and international cooperation is the only way we can make progress in solving these problems” (72% of Democrats strongly agree, compared to 36% of Republicans).

Republican views in favor of self-sufficiency are a function of their commitment to upholding US independence and sovereignty in international affairs. A majority of Republicans (61%) reject the idea that the United States should be more willing to make decisions within the United Nations if it means pursuing a policy that is not its first choice, putting them at direct odds with 84 percent of Democrats. In further contrast to Democrats, there is no Republican majority support for any international organization to be more involved in addressing the world’s problems.

Meanwhile, a large poll surveying over 14,000 people across 14 major economies also finds high approval ratings for the United Nations. The poll was conducted by Pew Research Centers and reveals a 63% approval rating for the United Nations among people living in 14 of the UN’s top 20 funders. According to that polling data, the generally favorable views of the United Nations flow from the belief of those surveyed that international cooperation can help solve problems in their own countries.

To be sure, partisan affiliation here in the US strongly influences American preferences and views of the United Nations. But taken together, these polls demonstrate a remarkable consistency of support for international cooperation in general and the United Nations in particular — across the world and within the United States.