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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 30, 2009

Hawkeye Poll: U.N., not U.S., should tackle key global issues

As the United States maintains involvement in a wide range of international issues, a University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released today shows most Americans would rather see the United Nations at the helm.

A striking majority of respondents said the United Nations is better suited than the United States to handle three major international matters: peacekeeping (73 percent), aid to developing nations (72 percent), and human rights (59 percent).

"The public is generally supportive of the U.N., but it's possible the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with a focus on domestic priorities, may have pushed some people away from more unilateral policies," said Nicholas Martini, a doctoral candidate in political science and member of the Hawkeye polling team. "Some individuals may also be responding to Obama's more multilateral approach to foreign politics."

The random national phone survey of 772 adults was conducted Oct. 23 through Oct. 31, 2009. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percent for the full sample. Topline results and sample characteristics are available at

The poll showed the vast majority of Democrats want to see the U.N. taking the lead (91 percent for peacekeeping, 85 percent for aid to developing countries and 71 percent for human rights). Republicans were less likely to prefer that, (55 percent for peacekeeping, 62 percent for aid to developing countries and 52 percent for human rights). Independents fell in the middle.

Results uncovered a slight gender gap. Seventy-seven percent of women preferred that the U.N. take charge on peacekeeping, compared to 69 percent of men. For aid to developing countries, 75 percent of women preferred the U.N., versus 68 percent of men, and for human rights issues, responses were nearly identical (59 percent of women, 58 percent of men).

The poll was conducted by the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative, comprised of UI faculty and graduate students in political science, with the cooperation and facilities of the UI Social Science Research Center, directed by Professor Kevin Leicht of the UI Department of Sociology. Faculty advisor for the Hawkeye Poll is Frederick Boehmke, associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The poll is a teaching, research and service project of the UI Department of Political Science. The college of liberal arts and sciences and the Office of the Provost provided funding for the poll.

Of the 772 respondents, 46 percent were women and 54 percent were men. Twenty-nine percent were Democrats, 40 percent were independents, and 31 percent were Republican. Nearly 64 percent considered themselves moderate, while 20 percent were liberal and 16 percent were conservative. Reported results are weighted by state population.

To view results on healthcare reform and President Barack Obama's approval rating, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nicholas Martini, Hawkeye Poll, 319-541-0921,; Nathan Darus, Hawkeye Poll, 319-335-3381 (office), 216-798-1682 (cell),; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,