- 54% think U.N. is doing a poor job; 43%, a good job
- 40% want U.N. to play major role; 24% leading; and 33% minor role in world
- More Democrats than Republicans view U.N. positively; prefer major role
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although Americans' opinions of the job the United Nations is doing have improved, for the 18th consecutive year, more Americans think the U.N. is doing a poor job of trying to solve the problems it has had to face than say it is doing a good job -- 54% vs. 43%. Democrats remain more likely than Republicans to offer a positive job rating of the U.N.
Despite the weak job assessment, 64% of U.S. adults continue to think the U.N. should play a significant role in the world.
Americans' Views of U.N. Job Performance Remain Weak, Differ Among Partisans
Gallup first asked Americans to rate the U.N.'s job performance in 1953 and continued to do so periodically until 2000. Since then, the measure has been consistently tracked at least once a year. Before 2003, Americans' job evaluations of the U.N. were marked by long stretches of negativity and shorter periods of positivity. The last time a majority of Americans gave the U.N. a good job rating was in early 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The latest reading, from a Feb. 3-16 Gallup poll, is consistent with last year's job rating, which was a 10-percentage-point increase over the prior year and the highest since 2003.
Democrats are much more positive in their views of the U.N. than Republicans are, as they have been for years. However, both groups show improved opinions of the international governing body compared with 2018. In 2020, 30% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, along with 55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, think the U.N. is doing a good job. Republicans' opinions of the United Nations are their most positive since 2002.
The current 25-point gap, though sizable, isn't the largest in recent history. The 2017 gap was 41 points -- the highest in the past 20 years.
Most in U.S. Want U.N. to Play Significant Role in World
Although most Americans rate the U.N.'s job performance poorly, a solid majority nonetheless say they would like to see it play a significant role in the world, as they have throughout Gallup's history of asking this question since 2001. Currently, 24% think the U.N. should have a leading role and 40% a major role. At the same time, 33% would prefer that the U.N. play a minor role.
In the nine times that Gallup has asked the question, as many as 75% and as few as 62% have said they want the U.N. to take a major or leading role on the world stage.
Just as Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the United Nations is doing a good job, they are also more inclined to call for it to play a leading role in the world. More than four in five Democrats and Democratic leaners want the U.N. to take a leading (29%) or major (55%) role. But just over half as many Republicans and Republican leaners prefer a leading (18%) or major (27%) role, and 51% favor a minor role.
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