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Poll Shows More than Eight out of Ten American Voters Support U.S. Engagement at the United Nations

Majority of Americans Oppose Anti-UN Bill in Congress; Support Full Payment of Dues to UN and UN Peacekeeping Operations

Washington, DC —   October 12, 2011

New bipartisan public opinion research released today by the United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, shows that there is strong support for the United Nations. The majority of Americans said they oppose the proposed legislation in Congress that would cut United States’ funding to the United Nations by 50%, and end funding to UN agencies that respond and take action after a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates found that more than eight out of ten voters (86%) say it is important that the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly believe that the U.S. should pay our dues to the UN (64%) and UN peacekeeping operations (71%) on time and in full.

"This polling once again shows that Americans do not want to see the United States go back into debt at the United Nations. While misguided legislation in Congress would cause America to forfeit our leadership at the UN, we see time and time again that the majority of voters across the political spectrum believe the U.S. should have an active role within the UN," said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. "At a time when the United Nations is more relevant than ever in addressing the world’s greatest peace and security challenges, this survey is evidence that voters believe in the value of the United Nations to American interests."

Key highlights of the research include:

  • Voters overwhelmingly believe it is important the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations. 

    • More than eight out of ten voters (86%) say it is important that the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations, with a substantial majority (65%) saying it is ‘very important’ the United States do so.

  • Americans support the United States paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full. Sixty-four percent of voters (64%) favor the United States paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full, while 31% oppose.

    • Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats favor paying our UN dues on time and in full.

  • There continues to be even greater support for the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full (71% favor/25% oppose).

    • This is also true regardless of party.  Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats continue to favor paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full.

  • A majority of Americans (55%) opposes proposed legislation that would cut United States’ funding of the United Nations, while 39% favor it. Intensity matters, and there is a higher level of strong opposition (37% strongly oppose) to this proposed legislation compared to strong support (21% strongly favor).

    • Majorities of Democrats and Independents oppose the proposed legislation, while a small majority of Republicans support the proposed legislation.

  • There continues to be significant recognition of the contemporary relevance of the United Nations. More than two-thirds of Americans (68%) believe the United Nations is still needed today.

    • Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats agree with this assessment.

  • Consistent with our past tracks, a majority of Americans perceive the United Nations as an “only somewhat effective” organization (51%).

  • Significant majorities of Americans overwhelmingly believe the United States should be supportive of all of the 17 UN programs we tested.  The top four programs were:

    • Helping to reverse the spread of HIV and malaria and other major diseases around the world.

    • Improving the access to safe drinking water in poor, developing countries.

    • Working to better the lives of adolescent girls around the world by helping assure girls have access to quality education and health care, adequate livelihoods, and freedom from violence and harmful practices.

    • Improving the health of women and children in poor, developing countries by making sure they have access to vaccines and maternal health care.  

The research was undertaken by a bipartisan polling team led by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies and Geoff Garin of Hart Research Associates. The poll was conducted among 900 registered voters nationwide from October 1-4, 2011. 

You can read the executive summary of the survey HERE. View the complete polling data HERE. For more information about UN Peacekeeping, please visit:


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

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

Aaron Sherinian
UN Foundation
(202) 887-9040

Heather Wong
Better World Campaign
(202) 862-6310