UN Retains Strong Global Image
Robust Support in America, Especially among Democrats
As the United Nations opens its 68th General Assembly session, publics around the world continue to have a positive impression of the international organization. Clear majorities in 22 of the 39 countries surveyed say they have a favorable view of the UN, including thumbs-up from Security Council permanent members Britain, France and the U.S. Ratings for the UN are on balance favorable in Russia. But the Chinese are divided in their opinion. However, views trend negatively in key Middle Eastern publics, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Turkey.
Overall, a median of 58% across the 39 countries surveyed express favorable views of the UN, with just 27% holding an unfavorable opinion. South Koreans express the highest support (84%). Ban Ki-moon, who heads the UN, is South Korean. Meanwhile, roughly eight-in-ten Indonesians and Filipinos approve of the international body. Support is also high in Africa, and most of Europe and Latin America.
Nearly six-in-ten Americans have a favorable opinion of the UN, headquartered in New York City, and support is up since the 2008 election of Barack Obama. However, there is a partisan divide in views of the multilateral institution, with stronger support from Democrats and independents than from Republicans.
Across many of the countries surveyed, young people are more positive toward the international body than older people. And in roughly half of the countries, those with a college degree or higher incomes tend to have a rosier view of the UN.
The survey, conducted before Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack and the proposed UN role in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles1, was conducted by the Pew Research Center in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents from March 2 to May 1, 2013.