[OPE-L] The polls: greater altruism in the USA?

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Tue Aug 07 2007 - 16:01:57 EDT

POLITICS-US: Polls Find Broad Support for Greater Altruism
By Eli Clifton

WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (IPS) - The U.S. public rejects the idea that the United
States should revert to a more isolationist foreign policy, but expresses
dissatisfaction with the current role of the U.S. in the world and the
destabilising effect it is having, concludes a compilation of recent public
opinion polls.

"People have the impression that public opinion data gives highly discrepant
results and that's really not true. If you take all of the polling data it's
really quite coherent," PIPA director and WPO editor Steven Kull told IPS.
"We don't look at polling as a one shot thing, but accumulating a body of
knowledge where every piece of data is useful."

The compilation, conducted by the Programme on International Policy
Attitudes (PIPA) and World Public Opinion (WPO), found that a majority of
U.S. citizens support the existence of U.S. military bases in the territory
of traditional allies but support is weak for the ongoing military presence
in the Middle East.

In July 2006, a Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll found that 69 percent
of U.S. citizens support Washington's involvement in world affairs, while 28
percent said it would be best if the United States stayed out of world
affairs. Since the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, public opinion polls have shown
a trend of greater support for U.S. involvement in world affairs. A PIPA
poll in 1996 asking similar questions found only 60 percent of U.S. citizens
supporting involvement in international affairs, while 35 percent supported
disengagement from the world.

Although U.S. citizens appear to support engagement with the rest of the
world, dissatisfaction is evident in polls regarding the current state of
the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy. A January 2007 Gallup
poll found that 56 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the current
role of the U.S. in the world, up from the 51 percent who shared that view
in 2006.

Furthermore, majorities of U.S. citizens see the world as more dangerous and
large numbers attribute that to the Bush administration's foreign policy. A
September 2006 Public Agenda poll found that 79 percent of respondents agree
that the world is becoming more dangerous for the U.S. while only 19 percent
thought it was less dangerous. Sixty percent of respondents believed that as
a result of the Bush administration's foreign policy the likelihood of
terrorist attacks had increased, according to an October 2006 WPO poll.

Complete story: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38806

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