Groundbreaking Study Probes Global Opinion on Key International Issues
June 21, 2007
WorldPublicOpinion.org and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs have released an in-depth study of world-wide opinion on key international issues, including climate change, globalization, the future of the United Nations, US leadership and the rise of China.
Based on a survey conducted in 18 countries, the 95-page report seeks to understand how the perspectives of people around the globe differ or converge on issues of international importance. The publics polled represent about 56 percent of the world’s population.
“This study is breaking new ground in the effort to gain understanding and discover commonalities in public opinion around the world,” said Steven Kull, editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org.
Christopher Whitney, executive director for studies at The Chicago Council pointed out that the study “revealed important convergences in thinking among many of the surveyed publics.”
“In general, there was recognition that many problems now transcend borders and require strengthened multilateral institutions and approaches to dealing with them,” Whitney said.
Participating research centers interviewed nearly 22,000 people in China, India, the United States, Russia, Indonesia, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Armenia and Israel, plus the Palestinian territories.
In addition to a global overview of opinion on key issues, including some newly released results, the report provides detailed country-by-country analyses and a discussion of how attitudes change depending on variables such as education, income and the amount of attention paid to news.
Among the key findings:
– Majorities around the world have a largely positive view of globalization and believe that international trade benefits national economies, companies, and consumers.
On Climate Change:
– There is widespread agreement that climate change is a pressing problem that poses a significant threat, though views differ on whether urgent, costly measures are needed.
On the United Nations
– Large majorities approve of strengthening the United Nations by giving it the power to have its own standing peacekeeping force, regulate the international arms trade and investigate human rights abuses.
On US Leadership
– Publics around the world reject the idea that the United States should continue to be the preeminent world leader and prefer that it play a more cooperative role.
– Majorities around the world believe that the Chinese economy will someday grow to be as large as the US economy but only a minority thinks this would be negative.
Click on one of the following links to read more about opinion in specific countries across all of the topics (PDFs).