Poll Shows Overwhelming Voter Support for the United Nations

85% Of Voters Say It Is Important The U.S. Maintain An Active Role In The UN; The Majority Of Americans Maintain A Favorable Perception Of The UN

Washington, D.C.

May 24, 2011


Alexis Krieg

The majority of American voters continue to demonstrate strong support for the United Nations. Results of public opinion research released today by the United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, found that American voters overwhelmingly believe the United Nations is an important organization in which the United States needs to maintain an active role (85%).

The survey showed that Americans continue to view the UN as an important global forum and organization that is still needed today. Consistent with UN Foundation and Better World Campaign’s October 2010 survey, the poll found that the majority of Americans (60%) support the payment of dues to the United Nations on time and in full. Moreover, 69% of voters agree that the United States should pay peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full, with majority of support across party lines.

“The United Nations today is on the frontlines of some of the most critical places in the world. From reconstruction in Haiti to protecting civilians in Libya, from environmental security in Japan to peace in Sudan, Americans understand that working together with our partners to solve global problems is more effective than going it alone,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “This survey shows that across all party lines, voters recognize the value in our participation at the United Nations. Congress should reaffirm its support for full funding for the UN and UN peacekeeping operations.”

Key highlights of the research include:

  • Americans support the United States paying our dues to the UN on time and in full.  Six out of ten Americans (60%) favor the United States paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full, while 34% oppose.
    • A plurality of Republicans, as well as majorities of Democrats and Independents favor paying our UN dues on time and in full.
  • There is even greater support for the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full (69% favor/27% oppose).
    • This is also true regardless of party.  A majority of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats continue to favor paying our peacekeeping dues to the UN on time and in full.
  • Voters overwhelmingly believe the United Nations is an important organization in which the United States needs to maintain an active role.
    • Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters say it is important that the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations, with six in ten voters (61%) saying it is very important the United States do so.
  • 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 Republicans (50%), as well as majorities of Democrats (84%) and Independents (63%) agree with this assessment.
  • Americans’ perception of the United Nations remains stable at a favorable level.
    • A majority of Americans (59%) say they have a favorable image of the United Nations, while only 28% say they have an unfavorable image.  This is consistent, within the margin of error, with the two national tracks conducted in 2010 in which the UN’s image was favorable (April 2010 – 60% favorable/30% unfavorable, October 2010 – 59% favorable/29% unfavorable).

“Anyone who wants to perpetuate myths about negative American perceptions about the United Nations is ignoring the data,” said Peter Yeo, Vice-President of the United Nations Foundation and Executive Director of the Better World Campaign. “American voters want the U.S. to take a lead role in addressing the world’s toughest challenges, and they know that leadership starts with a purposeful, strong presence at the United Nations.”

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 April 27-May 2, 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: www.UnitedInPeacekeeping.org.


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), 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 www.betterworldcampaign.org.


United Nations Foundation
Aaron Sherinian
(202) 887-9040

Better World Campaign
Heather Wong
(202) 862-6310