New Poll Shows Broad Support Among Americans for MDGs

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In new polling released last week by the United Nations Foundation and its sister organization the Better World Campaign (an MFAN partner), an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the United States should be involved in a worldwide effort to address urgent issues related to global poverty as part of the Millennium Development Goals, as adopted by 189 nations in September 2000.  The survey indicates that Americans consider issues such as access to clean water, children’s health, extreme hunger, and access to education to be top priorities that nations mustaddress to combat global poverty.

“This new data confirms that Americans recognize that working together with our international partners through the UN is more effective than trying to solve the world’s challenges alone,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “Confronting an issue like global poverty requires a smart approach to global coordination and the UN is uniquely positioned to provide and deliver global coordination every single day.”

Key highlights of the research include:

  • Voters continue to be concerned about the personal impact of international issues and how international issues abroad will affect them here in the United States.
  • Although roughly nine out of ten Americans (89%) say they are not familiar with the specifics of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), after hearing a brief description of the eight goals, 87% of Americans believe the United States should be very (43%) or somewhat (44%) involved in a worldwide effort to accomplish the MDGs by 2015.
  • The majority of Americans believe seven of the eight MDGs should be an absolute top or high priority to accomplish by 2015.  When asked to choose which MDG is most important to accomplish, Americans chose those goals that address the most basic human needs for survival: access to safe drinking water (47%) and alleviating extreme hunger/poverty (36%).
  • There has been a positive shift in public perception of how the United States is viewed by other countries under President Obama’s Administration.  In September 2007, 78% of voters said the United States is “less respected by other countries;” today the percentage has dropped to 60%.
  • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) believe the United Nations is still needed today; majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans agree with this assessment.

The research, undertaken by a bipartisan polling team led by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies and Geoff Garin of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, is among the most extensive research on this subject during the Obama Administration and reflects the results of four focus groups in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and a national survey of 900 likely voters.  The poll was conducted from April 10-14th, 2010.  The margin of error on the sample of 900 is + 3.27%.

Read the executive summary here. View the complete polling data here.

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