Poll Shows More than Eight out of Ten American Voters Support U.S. Engagement at the United Nations

Majority of Americans Oppose Anti-UN Bill in Congress; Support Full Payment of Dues to UN and UN Peacekeeping Operations

October 17, 2011
New bipartisan public opinion research released last week by the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Campaign, shows that there is strong support for the United Nations. The majority of Americans said they oppose the proposed legislation in Congress that would cut United States’ funding to the United Nations by 50%, and end funding to UN agencies that respond and take action after a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates found that more than eight out of ten voters (86%) say it is important that the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly believe that the U.S. should pay their dues to the UN (64%) and UN peacekeeping operations (71%) on time and in full.

“This polling once again shows that Americans do not want to see the United States go back into debt at the United Nations. While misguided legislation in Congress would cause America to forfeit our leadership at the UN, we see time and time again that the majority of voters across the political spectrum believe the U.S. should have an active role within the UN,” said United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth. “At a time when the United Nations is more relevant than ever in addressing the world’s greatest peace and security challenges, this survey is evidence that voters believe in the value of the United Nations to American interests.” 


Key highlights of the research include:


  • Voters overwhelmingly believe it is important the United States maintain an active role within the United Nations.
    • Sixty-four percent of voters favor the United States (31% oppose) paying our dues to the United Nations on time and in full, and majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats favor paying our support full on time payments as well.
  • There continues to be even greater support for the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full (71% favor/25% oppose).
    • This is also true regardless of party.  Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats continue to favor paying our peacekeeping dues to the United Nations on time and in full.
  • A majority of Americans (55%) oppose proposed legislation that would cut United States’ funding of the United Nations, while 39% favor it.  Intensity matters, and there is a higher level of strong opposition (37% strongly oppose) to this proposed legislation compared to strong support (21% strongly favor).
    • Majorities of Democrats and Independents oppose the proposed legislation, while a small majority of Republicans support the proposed legislation.
  • There continues to be significant recognition of the contemporary relevance of the United Nations.  More than two-thirds of Americans (68%) believe the United Nations is still needed today.
    • Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats agree with this assessment.
  • Significant majorities of Americans overwhelmingly believe the United States should be supportive of all of the 17 UN programs tested.  The top four programs were:
    1. Helping to reverse the spread of HIV and malaria and other major diseases  around the world.
    2. Improving the access to safe drinking water in poor, developing countries.
    3. Working to better the lives of adolescent girls around the world by helping assure girls have access to quality education and health care, adequate livelihoods, and freedom from violence and harmful practices.
    4. Improving the health of women and children in poor, developing countries by making sure they have access to vaccines and maternal health care.

“The result of this polling is a reflection of what we see at UNA-USA,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Patrick Madden. “Our network of chapters is growing; more citizens are looking for ways to learn about the UN and support its work. We hope our elected officials in Congress heed the message from a large majority of Americans and members of UNA-USA.”

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 October 1-4, 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.



The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), a program of the UN Foundation, is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire and mobilize the American people to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. UNA-USA works to accomplish its mission through its national network of chapters, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA and the UN Foundation create the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. For more information on UNA-USA, visit www.unausa.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.

Joseph Catapano
United Nations Association of the USA
(202) 887-9040

Aaron Sherinian
UN Foundation
(202) 887-9040

Heather Wong
Better World Campaign
(202) 862-6310

The UN Foundation
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