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Indians See Rape as a Major National Problem

April 24, 2014 Comments off

Indians See Rape as a Major National Problem
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

One year after the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi made national headlines, Indians remain concerned about the problem of rape in their country and the inadequacy of the criminal justice system in dealing with the issue.

A national poll conducted by the Pew Research Center between December 7, 2013, and January 12, 2014 shows that nine-in-ten Indians agree that the crime of rape is a “very big problem” in the country. Further, roughly eight-in-ten (82%) say the problem is growing. While four of the men convicted in the infamous Delhi case were given the death penalty, nearly three-in-four Indians (74%) say that the laws in the country are too lax when it comes to punishing cases of rape. About as many (78%) fault the country’s police for not being strict enough in investigating such cases.

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Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, clear majorities say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. This position is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East. At least three-quarters in all six countries surveyed in Africa say that faith in God is essential to morality. In the Middle East, roughly seven-in-ten or more agree in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Lebanon. Across the two regions, only in Israel does a majority think it is not necessary to believe in God to be an upright person.

Many people in Asia and Latin America also link faith and morality. For example, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Malaysians almost unanimously think that belief in God is central to having good values. People in El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela overwhelmingly agree. However, most Chinese take the opposite position – that it is not necessary to be a believer to be a moral person. And in Latin America, the Chileans and Argentines are divided.

Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

In a remarkably short period of time, internet and mobile technology have become a part of everyday life for some in the emerging and developing world. Cell phones, in particular, are almost omnipresent in many nations. The internet has also made tremendous inroads, although most people in the 24 nations surveyed are still offline.

Meanwhile, smartphones are still relatively rare, although significant minorities own these devices in countries such as Lebanon, Chile, Jordan and China.

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective

January 31, 2014 Comments off

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the growing number of older people is a problem varies dramatically around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Concern peaks in East Asia, where nearly nine-in-ten Japanese, eight-in-ten South Koreans and seven-in-ten Chinese describe aging as a major problem for their country. Europeans also display a relatively high level of concern with aging, with more than half of the public in Germany and Spain saying that it is a major problem. Americans are among the least concerned, with only one-in-four expressing this opinion.

These attitudes track the pattern of aging itself around the world. In Japan and South Korea, the majorities of the populations are projected to be older than 50 by 2050. China is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future. The U.S. population is also expected to get older, but at a slower rate than in most other countries.

UN Retains Strong Global Image; Robust Support in America, Especially among Democrats

September 17, 2013 Comments off

UN Retains Strong Global Image; Robust Support in America, Especially among Democrats
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

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.

Global Opinion of Russia Mixed; Negative Views Widespread in Mideast and Europe

September 4, 2013 Comments off

Global Opinion of Russia Mixed; Negative Views Widespread in Mideast and Europe
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

As the current chair of the G20 and host of the organization’s upcoming Leaders’ Summit, Russia has asserted itself on the world stage. Yet, in the court of public opinion, Russia gets a mixed verdict. In a global survey by the Pew Research Center, a median of just 36% among publics in 38 nations express a favorable view of Russia, compared with 39% who hold an unfavorable view, and 19% who do not offer an opinion. By contrast, the same survey found the international image of the U.S. to be much more positive, with a median of 63% expressing a favorable view of America.

In only two countries surveyed do more than half give Russia positive marks: Greece (63% favorable) and South Korea (53%). Elsewhere, opinion of the continent-spanning nation is less favorable, with negative views especially pronounced in the Middle East, Western Europe and Far East neighbor, Japan.

These are among the key findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center conducted from March 2 to May 1, 2013 among 37,653 respondents in 39 countries, including Russia. The survey also finds that favorable opinion of Russia has slipped since 2007 in a number of Western countries, including the U.S. and Britain. But the biggest dip in opinion of Russia has occurred in Egypt and Jordan – key countries in the Middle East, a region in which Moscow has played an increasingly prominent role.

America’s Global Image Remains More Positive than China’s but Many See China Becoming World’s Leading Power

July 23, 2013 Comments off

America’s Global Image Remains More Positive than China’s but Many See China Becoming World’s Leading Power
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Publics around the world believe the global balance of power is shifting. China’s economic power is on the rise, and many think it will eventually supplant the United States as the world’s dominant superpower.

However, China’s increasing power has not led to more positive ratings for the People’s Republic. Overall, the U.S. enjoys a stronger global image than China. Across the nations surveyed, a median of 63% express a favorable opinion of the U.S., compared with 50% for China.

Globally, people are more likely to consider the U.S. a partner to their country than to see China in this way, although relatively few think of either nation as an enemy. America is also seen as somewhat more willing than China to consider other countries’ interests. Still, both of these world powers are widely viewed as acting unilaterally in international affairs.

And the military power of both nations worries many. China’s growing military strength is viewed with trepidation in neighboring Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes faces broad opposition – half or more in 31 of 39 countries disapprove of U.S. drone attacks against extremist groups.

Respecting individual liberty remains the strong suit of America’s image. Even in many nations where opposition to American foreign policy is widespread and overall ratings for the U.S. are low, majorities or pluralities believe individual rights are respected in the U.S. Across the nations surveyed, a median of 70% say the American government respects the personal freedoms of its people. In contrast, a median of only 36% say this about China.

American International Engagement on the Rocks

July 11, 2013 Comments off

American International Engagement on the Rocks
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Getting the American public’s attention, let alone commitment to deal with international issues is as challenging as it has ever been in the modern era. Feeling burned by Iraq and Afghanistan and burdened by domestic concerns, the public feels little responsibility and inclination to deal with international problems that are not seen as direct threats to the national interest. The depth and duration of the public’s disengagement these days goes well beyond the periodic spikes in isolationist sentiment that have been observed over the past 50 years.

The Global Divide on Homosexuality; Greater Acceptance in More Secular and Affluent Countries

June 4, 2013 Comments off

The Global Divide on Homosexuality; Greater Acceptance in More Secular and Affluent Countries

Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

As the United States and other countries grapple with the issue of same sex marriage, a new Pew Research Center survey finds huge variance by region on the broader question of whether homosexuality should be accepted or rejected by society.

The survey of publics in 39 countries finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia. Opinion about the acceptability of homosexuality is divided in Israel, Poland and Bolivia.

Attitudes about homosexuality have been fairly stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted by society has grown by at least ten percentage points since 2007.

The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union

May 14, 2013 Comments off

The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union

Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

The European Union is the new sick man of Europe. The effort over the past half century to create a more united Europe is now the principal casualty of the euro crisis. The European project now stands in disrepute across much of Europe.

Support for European economic integration – the 1957 raison d’etre for creating the European Economic Community, the European Union’s predecessor – is down over last year in five of the eight European Union countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2013. Positive views of the European Union are at or near their low point in most EU nations, even among the young, the hope for the EU’s future. The favorability of the EU has fallen from a median of 60% in 2012 to 45% in 2013. And only in Germany does at least half the public back giving more power to Brussels to deal with the current economic crisis.

The sick man label – attributed originally to Russian Czar Nicholas I in his description of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century – has more recently been applied at different times over the past decade and a half to Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece and France. But this fascination with the crisis country of the moment has masked a broader phenomenon: the erosion of Europeans’ faith in the animating principles that have driven so much of what they have accomplished internally.

The prolonged economic crisis has created centrifugal forces that are pulling European public opinion apart, separating the French from the Germans and the Germans from everyone else. The southern nations of Spain, Italy and Greece are becoming ever more estranged as evidenced by their frustration with Brussels, Berlin and the perceived unfairness of the economic system.

These negative sentiments are driven, in part, by the public’s generally glum mood about economic conditions and could well turn around if the European economy picks up. But Europe’s economic fortunes have worsened in the past year, and prospects for a rapid turnaround remain elusive. The International Monetary Fund expects the European Union economy to not grow at all in 2013 and to still be performing below its pre-crisis average in 2018. Nevertheless, despite the vocal political debate about austerity, a clear majority in five of eight countries surveyed still think the best way to solve their country’s economic problems is to cut government spending, not spend more money.

These are among the key findings of a new study by the Pew Research Center conducted in eight European Union nations among 7,646 respondents from March 2 to March 27, 2013.

Widespread Middle East Fears that Syrian Violence Will Spread

May 1, 2013 Comments off

Widespread Middle East Fears that Syrian Violence Will Spread

Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

As concern mounts about the Syrian government’s possible use of chemical weapons against its own people, publics in the Middle East – especially the Lebanese – are extremely worried about violence spreading to neighboring countries. Nonetheless, a new survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted before news emerged of alleged use of chemical agents by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, found little regional support for Western or Arab countries sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria. And there is even greater opposition among American and European publics to such indirect Syrian involvement by their governments. A more recent Pew Research nationwide U.S. poll finds that hard evidence that Damascus has engaged in chemical warfare would only lead to a modest increase in American public support for an allied military effort in Syria.

Meanwhile, Assad is very unpopular throughout the region, except among Shia Muslims in Lebanon. In turn, Lebanese Muslims are divided over aid to the rebels. Most Sunnis back such assistance, while Shia overwhelmingly oppose it.

These are the key findings from a new survey by the Pew Research Center of 11,771 people in 12 countries from March 3 to April 7, 2013. Surveyed countries include Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Tunisia in the Middle East; Germany, France and Britain in Europe; and the United States and Russia.

Global Opinion of Obama Slips, International Policies Faulted

June 13, 2012 Comments off

Global Opinion of Obama Slips, International Policies FaultedSource: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Global approval of President Barack Obama’s policies has declined significantly since he first took office, while overall confidence in him and attitudes toward the U.S. have slipped modestly as a consequence.

Europeans and Japanese remain largely confident in Obama, albeit somewhat less so than in 2009, while Muslim publics remain largely critical. A similar pattern characterizes overall ratings for the U.S. – in the EU and Japan, views are still positive, but the U.S. remains unpopular in nations such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, support for Obama has waned significantly in China. Since 2009, confidence in the American president has declined by 24 percentage points and approval of his policies has fallen 30 points. Mexicans have also soured on his policies, and many fewer express confidence in him today.

The Obama era has coincided with major changes in international perceptions of American power – especially U.S. economic power. The global financial crisis and the steady rise of China have led many to declare China the world’s economic leader, and this trend is especially strong among some of America’s major European allies. Today, solid majorities in Germany (62%), Britain (58%), France (57%) and Spain (57%) name China as the world’s top economic power.

Even though many think American economic clout is in relative decline, publics around the world continue to worry about how the U.S. uses its power – in particular its military power – in international affairs.

There remains a widespread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries. In predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular. And in nearly all countries, there is considerable opposition to a major component of the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy: drone strikes. In 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Americans are the clear outliers on this issue – 62% approve of the drone campaign, including most Republicans (74%), independents (60%) and Democrats (58%).

Greeks and Germans at Polar Opposites: European Unity on the Rocks

May 29, 2012 Comments off

Greeks and Germans at Polar Opposites: European Unity on the RocksSource: Pew Global Attitudes Project

In Europe, what started out four years ago as a sovereign debt crisis, morphed into a euro currency crisis and led to the fall of several European governments, has now triggered a full-blown crisis of public confidence: in the economy, in the future, in the benefits of European economic integration, in membership in the European Union, in the euro and in the free market system. The public is very worried about joblessness, inflation and public debt, and those fears are fueling much of this uncertainty and negativity.

Europeans largely oppose further fiscal austerity to deal with the crisis. They are divided on bailing out indebted nations. They oppose Brussels’ impending oversight of national budgets. At the same time, Europeans who now use the euro have no desire to abandon it and return to their former currency. And anti-German sentiment is largely contained to Greece, at least for the moment.

The crisis has exposed sharp differences between some Europeans. Germany is the most admired nation in the EU and its leader the most respected. The Germans are judged to be Europe’s most hardworking people. And the Germans are the strongest supporters of both European economic integration and the European Union.

Greece is the polar opposite. None of its fellow EU members surveyed see it in a positive light. In turn, Greeks are among the most disparaging of European economic integration and the harshest critics of the European Union. And they see themselves as Europe’s most hardworking people.

These are among the key findings from a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted in eight EU nations and the United States among 9,108 respondents from March 17 to April 16.

Muslim-Western Tensions Persist

July 22, 2011 Comments off

Muslim-Western Tensions Persist
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Muslim and Western publics continue to see relations between them as generally bad, with both sides holding negative stereotypes of the other. Many in the West see Muslims as fanatical and violent, while few say Muslims are tolerant or respectful of women. Meanwhile, Muslims in the Middle East and Asia generally see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy – as well as violent and fanatical.

However, the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey finds somewhat of a thaw in the U.S. and Europe compared with five years ago. A greater percentage of Western publics now see relations between themselves and Muslims as generally good compared with 2006.

In contrast, Muslims in predominantly Muslim nations are as inclined to say relations are generally bad as they were five years ago. And, as in the past, Muslims express more unfavorable opinions about Christians than Americans or Europeans express about Muslims.

For the most part, Muslims and Westerners finger point about the causes of problems in their relations, and about which side holds the high ground on key issues. Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere who say relations with the West are bad overwhelmingly blame the West. However, while Americans and Europeans tend to blame Muslims for bad relations, significant numbers believe Westerners are responsible.

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