Americans are more confident than they were a year ago that the United Nations is doing a good job solving problems. It's a small increase — only 3 percent higher — but it's the highest levels the annual poll conducted by Gallup has seen since the intergovernmental organization decided not to get behind the Iraq War in 2003.
United States adults responded positively to the question, “Do you think the United Nations is doing a good job or poor job in trying to solve the problems it has had to face?” at a rate of 38 percent this year. The poll was conducted from Feb. 3-7.
Republicans were the most critical of the United Nations. Only 17 percent of people who identified as Republican rated the United Nations favorably this year, dropping from 25 percent in 2015. While ratings fell among Republicans, they increased from last year for the adults polled who identified as independent. The independents who said they believed the U.N. was doing a good job rose from 29 percent to 43 percent. Gallup analysis attributed this rise to independents' views becoming more aligned with Democrats.
Over the years, American ratings of the U.N.'s problem-solving capabilities have fluctuated from 26 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2002, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The study has been conducted since 1953. In the exception of brief periods, such as after the first Gulf War and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, attitudes toward the United Nations' performance has been mostly negative.
Despite the poor report card, more than 60 percent of Americans said in 2014 that the U.N. should be a major player in international affairs. “While the majority of Americans generally have not been happy with the way the United Nations deals with the world's problems, few have wanted to see it fade into oblivion, as did its post-World War I predecessor, the ill-fated League of Nations,” the study wrote.
The poll surveyed more than 1,021 ages 18 and older across the United States. All of the interviews were conducted over the phone using random-digit-dial methods.