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Detailed Findings: Index of Public Opinion on International Issues and the United Nations

May 24, 2011





Are Americans supportive of paying United States’ dues to the United Nations on time and in full?





o        Six out of ten Americans continue to favor the United States paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full. 

Favor   Oppose

October 2010                63%     31%

May 2011                      60%     34%


·         Consistent with the October track, majorities of Democrats and Independents favor paying our UN dues on time and in full, and a plurality of Republicans feel this way. 


Pay UN General Dues On Time/In Full

    Favor   Oppose

Republicans             48%     45%

Independents           58%     35%

                   Democrats                   73%     23% 



o        There is greater support for the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full than our general dues to the UN.


Favor   Oppose

June 2009                     70%     25%

October 2010                72%     23%

May 2011                      69%     27%


·         Consistent with the October 2010 track, this is also true by party.  Majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support the U.S. paying our UN peacekeeping dues on time and in full. 


Pay UN Peacekeeping Dues On Time/In Full

    Favor   Oppose

Republicans         55%     40%

Independents       65%     33%

Democrats          83%     14% 





How do Americans perceive the United Nations today? 

1)      Voters believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the UN. 

2)      Voters believe the UN is still needed today. 

3)      Voters have a favorable opinion of the UN.  


o        Voters overwhelmingly believe the United Nations is an important organization in which the United States needs to maintain an active role.

·         We asked the following question:

“And thinking specifically about the United Nations and the United States...How important do you think it is for the United States to maintain an active role within the United Nations?  Would you say...it is very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?”



Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters say it is important that the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations, with a substantial six in ten voters (61%) saying it is very important the United States do so.


    Total Important           Total Not Important

June 2009                    85%                             15%

May 2011                    85%                             15%


o        There continues to be significant recognition of the contemporary relevance of the United Nations. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) believe the United Nations is still needed today.  Half of all Republicans, as well as majorities of Democrats and Independents agree with this assessment.  Republicans are more closely divided. 








May 2011






o        Consistent, within the margin of error, with our two tracks in 2010, Americans’ perception of the United Nations remains stable at a favorable level.


United Nations Image

                                    Favorable       Unfavorable

June 2009                        54%                 35%

October 2009                   50%                 36%

April 2010                        60%                 30%

October 2010                   59%                 29%

May 2011                        59%                 28%


o        The UN’s favorable rating continues to be on par with the other international organizations we tested.  The majority of Americans continue to have a favorable view of NATO, as well as the organizations that are part of the UN system – including UNICEF and The World Health Organization.  The World Bank continues to have a significantly negative image when compared to the other international organizations we tested.


                                 Favorable       Unfavorable  

United Nations            59%                 28%

UNICEF                      58%                 11%                

NATO                        57%                 20%                  

         WHO                          56%                 16%                

         The World Bank            24%                 37%                




Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates conducted a national telephone survey of 900 registered voters (765 with landline voters; 135 with cell phone dominant voters), April 27-May 2, 2011, on behalf of the United Nations Foundation.  The purpose of the survey was to track American attitudes toward international issues and the United Nations.  The margin of error on a sample of 900 interviews is +3.27%. 


We have previously conducted research for the Foundation in 2009 and 2010 on international issues.  This memo references these surveys, but the key findings included in this memo are from the May 2011 research.<-->