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Gallup Glance Around the Globe

A data-driven view of recent events in Myanmar, at the United Nations, and in Russia

by Nicole Naurath


Rare Show of Dissent in Myanmar

Today President Bush announced new visa restrictions and financial sanctions against the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, which is experiencing its largest protest in decades. What started in mid-August as an outcry against rising fuel prices has turned into a mass protest of nearly 100,000 people demonstrating against the country's repressive military government. Buddhist monks are leading this demonstration in a society where 89% of the population is Buddhist and 97% of respondents in August 2006 and September 2006 told the Gallup World Poll that religion plays a very important role in their daily lives. The scale of the protest is even more significant, considering only 6% of respondents in Myanmar told the World Poll that they had made their opinion known to a public official.

Worries About the Environment Vary Widely by Nation

World leaders convened on Monday at the first United Nations climate summit to discuss and spur global action to protect the environment. Many world leaders fear that too little is being done to slow environmental degradation. The Gallup World Poll asked respondents in 128 countries whether they were satisfied with efforts made in their own countries to preserve the environment. More than 70 of the countries polled reported satisfaction rates of less than half of the population, with a worldwide median of 45%. The countries with populations that were most satisfied with the actions being taken to protect the environment include the United Arab Emirates (90%), New Zealand (78%), and Botswana (77%), while some of the countries with the lowest reported rates of satisfaction include the Ukraine (12%), Russia (15%), and Bosnia Herzegovina (17%).

Russians Divided About Their Leadership

A new Freedom House analysis describes Russia as more autocratic than democratic. The report from the independent nongovernmental organization comes one day after Russia President Vladimir Putin announced changes to the government. In a political climate where in March 2007 and April of 2007 40% of Russian respondents told the Gallup World Poll they approved of the leadership of their country, Putin last week named Viktor Zubkov to be Russia's new prime minister. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they disapproved of the country's leadership, and 20% said they didn't know. Further, 83% of Russians surveyed said corruption is widespread in their government.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 or more adults ages 15 and older. The survey in Myanmar was administered August 2006 and September 2006, while the survey in Russia was conducted in March 2007 and April 2007. The environment question stems from World Poll data collected worldwide from July 2005 and concluded December 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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