Halifax, NS—A new poll conducted by global research company Ipsos for the Halifax International Security Forum finds that eight in ten citizens in 24 countries ‘agree’ (strongly and somewhat) their country should help parts of the world experiencing natural disasters or famines (82%) and support economic sanctions against other countries that behave badly or treat their own people badly (77%).
However, a similarly strong majority (79%) of world citizens also ‘agree’ their country needs to focus less on the world and more at home, given the difficult economic issues in their country today. In fact, citizens who rate their national economy as ‘good’ (very and somewhat) are more likely to support their country’s engagement in world affairs on a variety of issues compared with their counterparts who say the economy in their country is ‘bad’ (very and somewhat).
When citizens are asked to consider to what extent certain countries or organizations will have an overall positive influence on world affairs in the next decade, Canada (79% ‘positive, 21% ‘negative’) and Germany (76% positive, 24% negative) come out on top.
Ipsos surveyed 18,682 adults from 24 countries between October 7 and October 20, 2011.
Global Citizens Want Their Country to Actively Engage in World Affairs…
Eight in ten (82%) citizens ‘agree’ (33% strongly, 49% somewhat) their country should help parts of the world experiencing natural disasters or famines while two in ten (18%) ‘disagree’ (6% strongly, 13% somewhat).
- Turkey (91% agree) is most likely to support this form of engagement, followed by India (90%), Indonesia (89%), China (86%), Japan (86%) and South Korea (86%). The softest support is found in Hungary, though supporters still make up 62% of the national population. Following Hungary, the United States (72%), Belgium (72%) and Great Britain (78%) are least likely to support such involvement.
Eight in ten (77%) ‘agree’ that their country should support economic sanctions against countries that behave badly in the world, or treat their own people badly (34% strongly, 43% somewhat) while two in ten (23%) ‘disagree’ (9% strongly, 15% somewhat).
- Strongest support for economic sanctions comes from South Africa (85%), followed by Beigum (83%), Indonesia (83%), Spain (82%) and Sweden (82%). Softest support comes from citizens in Hungary (59%), Mexico (69%), Russia (71%) and Italy (71%).
Only four in ten (41%) ‘agree’ (9% strongly, 32% somewhat) their country should help with international military efforts, such as providing security in Afghanistan or supporting the rebels in Libya. A majority (59%) ‘disagree’ (27% strongly, 31% somewhat).
- The country showing the greatest support for this form of engagement is India (73%), followed at some distance by Saudi Arabia (61%), Turkey (58%), South Korea (55%) and Australia (51%). Hungarians (18%) are least likely to support international military efforts, followed by those in Russia (21%), Argentina (25%), Italy (26%) and Mexico (27%).
Three quarters of global citizens ‘agree’ their country should help the growth of democracy in the world (76%) and that their country has a responsibility to be a moral leader in the world and set an example for other countries to follow (75%). Six in ten (63%) ‘agree’ their country should assist other nations that have less developed economies.
…But Enthusiasm is Tempered by Their National Economy
Despite broad support for a number of ways global citizens’ countries could engage in global affairs, eight in ten (79%) ‘agree’ (43% strongly, 36% somewhat) their country needs to focus less on the world and more at home, given the difficult economic issues in their country today. Two in ten (21%) ‘disagree’ (5% strongly, 16% somewhat). Those in the United States lead the charge on this front with 89% agreeing, followed by 88% of Hungarians, 87% of South Africans and 85% people from Indonesia and Poland. Only half (53%) of those in Sweden agree their world focus should be limited due to the economy, followed at some distance by South Korea (71%), Germany (71%) and Italy (75%).
Furthermore, citizens in 24 countries who rate the current economic situation in their country to be ‘good’ (very/somewhat) are more likely than those who rate their national economies as ‘bad’ (very/somewhat) to support each of the six approaches for involvement in world affairs listed above on a global aggregate level.
Eight in ten (82%) of those who say their national economy is bad are more likely than those who say it is good (74%) to agree involvement in world affairs should take a backseat to domestic affairs due to current economic difficulties in their country.
These findings suggest that support for engagement in world affairs, while fairly strong already, might be even stronger during better economic times.
Canada, Germany Projected to Yield Most Positive Influence in Next Decade
The world seems to looks to Canada and Germany as leaders of world affairs in the next decade. Participants were asked to consider whether a list of countries or organizations would each have an overall positive or negative influence on world affairs in the next decade.
- Canada comes out on top, with eight in ten (79%) global citizens reporting Canada will have an overall ‘positive’ (12% strongly, 67% somewhat) influence on world affairs, while two in ten (21%) say it will be ‘negative’ (3% strongly, 18% somewhat). Canada sings its own praises the loudest, with 91% saying it will have a positive influence, followed by Mexico (89%), Sweden (84%) and South Africa (83%). Saudi Arabia is least likely to say so (57%), followed by Turkey (68%), Italy (74) and Argentina (74%).
- Respondents rate Germany about as highly, with 76% reporting it will have an overall ‘positive’ influence (14% strongly, 62% somewhat) while a quarter (24%) say the influence will be ‘negative’ (4% strongly, 20% somewhat). Russia appears to be Germany’s number one fan on this measure (86%), followed by Mexico (84%), India (81%) and Spain (81%). Saudi Arabia is again least likely to say so (58%), followed by Turkey (62%), Australia (65%) and the United States (66%).
At the bottom of the list of countries and organizations are Russia and the United States, over which citizens in 24 countries are split in their assessments of whether they will exert overall positive or negative impacts on world affairs in the next decade.
- Half (52%) say Russia’s influence will be overall ‘positive’ (8% strongly, 44% somewhat) while the other half (48%) say it will be overall ‘negative’ (8% strongly, 40% somewhat). There is great range in terms of which citizens think Russia will have a positive influence. While nine in ten (88%) Russians say so, followed by China (78%), India (76%) and Mexico (74%), only three in ten of those in Poland (31%), France (31%), Germany (32%) and Belgium (34%) appear to think this way.
- Similarly, half (54%) say the United States’ influence will be overall ‘positive’ (13% strongly, 41% somewhat) while the other half (46%) say it will be overall ‘negative’ (13% strongly, 33% somewhat). Three quarters (76%) of Americans report their own country will exert a positive influence on world affairs in the next decade, followed by India (74%), Brazil (66%) and Mexico (65%), while those in Sweden (35%), Germany (35%), Turkey (39%) and Russia (40%) are the least likely to say so.
Seven in ten of global citizens say an overall positive influence will be made by their own country (73%), the United Nations (73%) and France (65%). Six in ten place their bets on China (60%), the World Bank (60%), the International Monetary Fund (59%) and India (58%) having overall positive influences on world affairs in the next ten years, rounding out the list of 11 countries and organizations respondents were asked to assess.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Global @dvisor poll conducted between on behalf of the Halifax International Security Forum. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 24 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. An international sample of 18,682 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed between October 7 and October 20, 2011. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis with the exception of Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where each have a sample 500+. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points for a sample of 500 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of the specifically aged adults in that country been polled.
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CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
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