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Poll: U.S. Voters Support UN's Role in Syria as UN Image Rises

Even amid government shutdown, support for paying U.S. dues to UN holds strong

October 21, 2013

A new poll released today by the Better World Campaign finds that voters overwhelmingly support the UN’s work in Syria—both overseeing the destruction of chemical weapons and providing aid, relief, and shelter to refugees. At the same time, voter favorability of the UN rose 10 points from October of last year.

"Voters have taken note of the UN’s strong role in the Syria crisis, so it’s no coincidence that, as decisive action is underway to destroy chemical weapons and care for over two million refugees, we’re also seeing an pronounced rise in UN approval ratings," said Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign.

The poll—conducted following a productive UN General Assembly meeting in New York and during the federal government shutdown—also showed strong support for paying U.S. dues to the UN on time and in full.

In a survey of 900 registered voters, seventy-three percent report seeing, reading, or hearing about the crisis in Syria. More than eight in 10 say that the United States should be supportive of the UN overseeing the collection and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons; the same number say that the U.S. should support the UN’s work to provide humanitarian aid, relief, and shelter to Syria’s refugees (asked of 440 respondents).

Americans also broadly support strong involvement in the UN: 88 percent say it is important that the U.S. maintain an active role in the UN. Further, nearly two thirds—63 percent—support paying our dues to the UN on time and in full, and 71 percent support paying peacekeeping dues on time and in full.

"The numbers paint a clear picture: Even amidst the backdrop of the government shutdown and a looming fiscal cliff, voters recognized this year’s enormously productive UN General Assembly meeting, and they continue to value our foreign affairs commitments," said Yeo.

The nationwide poll of likely voters was conducted October 5-10 by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates with a margin of error of ± 3.27 percent. Other notable findings include:

  • The UN’s favorability rating is 60 percent. By contrast, only 22 percent of voters gave Congress a favorable rating.
  • 83 percent say the U.S. should support the UN’s work to build peace in countries emerging from conflict.
  • 92 percent of voters say the U.S. should support the UN’s work to improve the health of women and children in poor, developing countries by making sure they have access to vaccines and maternal health care.
  • 87 percent say the U.S. should support the UN’s work to promote gender equality, women’s rights, and the advancement of women and girls around the world.

Click here for an executive summary. Click here for full results.

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