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Poll Shows Strong Support for Payment of UN Dues



October 15, 2010

U.S. Voters’ favorable rating of the UN holds steady at 59% 

The United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, released today the results of public opinion research showing strong, continued support for the United Nations.  Americans’ 59% favorable rating of the United Nations indicates that the UN’s response to humanitarian issues, disaster relief, and work to end global poverty are key reasons as to why the United Nations continues to resonate with today’s voters.

The survey showed that Americans view the UN as an important global forum for discussion and action to resolve the most pressing issues confronting the world.  The majority of Americans (63%) support the full payment of dues to the United Nations on time and in full.   Moreover, seven out of ten voters, including a majority of Republicans, expressed support for the United States to pay peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full. 

 “American voters are heading to the polls in November, and America’s role in the world is on their minds.  Across the board, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike recognize the important role that the United Nations plays in bringing together global leaders to solve some of the world’s toughest problems,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “This survey proves once again that Americans support the full payment of UN dues and peacekeeping dues, and is a clear signal that that U.S. engagement at the United Nations is on the right track.”  

Key highlights of the research include:

Americans’ perception of the United Nations has stabilized at a favorable level over the course of 2010. 

  • A majority of Americans (59%) say they have a favorable image of the United Nations, while only 29% say they have an unfavorable image.  This is consistent with the last national track in April 2010 in which the UN’s image was 60% favorable/30% unfavorable.
  • The UN’s favorable image is being driven by the organization’s work to resolve conflicts, keep peace around the world, provide humanitarian and disaster relief, and because the UN is viewed as a place that serves as a forum for discussion and resolution of issues for countries around the world.   

There is significant recognition of the relevance of the United Nations, with two-thirds of Americans (68%) saying they believe the United Nations is still needed today.

  • Majorities of Democrats (85%), Independents (57%), and Republicans (55%) agree with this assessment.

More than six out of ten Americans (63%) favor the United States paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full, while 31% oppose.

  • Majorities of Democrats and Independents favor paying our UN dues on time and in full, while Republicans are more closely divided.

There is greater support for the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full (72% favor/23% oppose).

  • Majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support the U.S. paying our UN peacekeeping dues on time and in full.

Americans believe the United Nations has a number of important functions it serves in the world today from improving access to safe drinking water in poor, developing countries to building peace in countries emerging from conflict.  Of the 14 functions we tested in the survey, 11 were viewed by a majority of Americans as being very important roles and functions the UN serves today.

  • When asked how supportive the United States should be of each of these 14 roles and functions the United Nations serves, the percentage of Americans saying the U.S. should be supportive of each goal tested ranges from 75% to 91% supportive.  This is a significant level of overall support for the roles and functions the UN serves. 
  • Looking more closely at the intensity of support, a majority of Americans (52% to 61%) believe the U.S. should be “very supportive” of seven of the 14 UN functions tested.
  • Once Americans hear about these different functions and roles the United Nations, support for the United States paying our dues on time and in full shifts from 63% favor/31% oppose to 79% favor/19% oppose.

The international news environment has shifted over the course of the last six months back to a focus on war. 

  • We ask respondents what they remember seeing, reading, or hearing in the past two to three months about international news stories happening outside of the United States.  Voter recall has shifted from natural disaster news stories (22%) and Iran (20%) to a focus on the wars in Afghanistan (30%) and Iraq (14%).

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 from October 4-10th, 2010.

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

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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) works to foster a strong, effective relationship between the United States and the United Nations (UN) through outreach, communications, and advocacy. We encourage U.S. leadership to work constructively through the United Nations and to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to carry out its invaluable operations around the world. And we engage policy makers, the media, and the American public to increase awareness of and support for the United Nations.