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Global Problems Can be Solved

United Nations Approval Rating Rises to 60% in New Opinion Poll

Majority of American voters believe that the United States should be involved in combating global poverty as part of the Millennium Development Goals

Washington, D.C. —   May 5, 2010

New public opinion polling shows that Americans’ favorable rating of the United Nations has risen to 60%. The data released today by the United Nations Foundation and its sister organization the Better World Campaign, is the highest favorable rating for the UN in five years. The polling illustrates that Americans are responding positively to the work of UN in light of its response to recent natural disasters around the world, as well as the UN’s continued efforts to protect human rights and address humanitarian emergencies.

The survey also reveals than an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the United States should be involved in a worldwide effort to address urgent issues related to global poverty as part of the Millennium Development Goals, as adopted by 189 nations in September 2000.  The survey indicates that Americans consider issues such as access to clean water, children’s health, extreme hunger, and access to education to be top priorities that nations must address to combat global poverty.

“The work of the United Nations is front and center on the world stage and Americans are taking notice.  This new data confirms that Americans recognize that working together with our international partners through the UN is more effective than trying to solve the world’s challenges alone,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “Confronting an issue like global poverty requires a smart approach to global coordination and the UN is uniquely positioned to provide and deliver global coordination every single day.”

Key highlights of the research include:

  • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) believe the United Nations is still needed today; majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans agree with this assessment.
  • Voters continue to be concerned about the personal impact of international issues and how international issues abroad will affect them here in the United States. 
  • There has been a positive shift in public perception of how the United States is viewed by other countries under President Obama’s Administration.  In September 2007 78% of voters said the United States is “less respected by other countries,” today the percentage has dropped to 60%.
  • Although roughly nine out of ten Americans (89%) say they are not familiar with the specifics of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), after hearing a brief description of the eight goals, 87% of Americans believe the United States should be very (43%) or somewhat (44%) involved in a worldwide effort to accomplish the MDGs by 2015. 
  • The majority of Americans believe seven of the eight MDGs should be an absolute top or high priority to accomplish by 2015.  When asked to choose which MDG is most important to accomplish Americans chose those goals that address the most basic human needs for survival: access to safe drinking water (47%) and alleviating extreme hunger/poverty (36%).   

The research, undertaken by a bipartisan polling team led by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies and Geoff Garin of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, is among the most extensive research on this subject during the Obama Administration reflecting the results of four focus groups in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and a national survey of 900 likely voters.  The poll was conducted from April 10-14th, 2010.  The margin of error on the sample of 900 is + 3.27%.

You can read the executive summary here. View the complete polling data here.

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About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities.  We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach.  Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems.  The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes.  For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign (BWC), an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations.  It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice.  For more information, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Aaron Sherinian
(202) 887-9040
ASherinian@unfoundation.org

 
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