Friday, May 07, 2004

A snapshot of the Anglosphere 

Some very very interesting research conducted by the international pollster Roy Morgan in the "Anglosphere" countries of Australia, the US, Great Britain and New Zealand (yes, I know, I have my doubts about that last one too). Here's some of the highlights, and many of them ain't pretty:

- In all four countries, at least 50% of those polled agree with the statement that "Globalisation brings more problems than it solves", (lowest in the US on 50%, highest in Australia on 60%).

- Environmental concerns are a strong undercurrent in all countries, with at least 74% agreeing that "if we don’t act now we’ll never control our environmental problems" and at most 30% holding the belief that environmental threats are exaggerated (both responses from the US).

- The level of distrust in the current government is pretty significant across the board, with the lowest level of distrust in the US (41%) and the highest in the UK (62%). Doesn't bode too well for Tony Blair's New Labour. In one of those political ironies, Blair is more popular among the Americans, and Bush is more popular among the Kurds than either of them are at home.

- At least 77% of those polled believe that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, but only 34% of the Americans (versus 57% of the Australians) think that it's the government's job to support people who can't find work.

- Less than a third of people believe that terrorists deserve the same rights as ordinary criminals, which is a clear vindication of Bush's strategy of seeing the war on terror as a military operation rather than a law enforcement issue. By the same token, also less than a third (often significantly less) believe that "freedom is more important than the law" - a result that will not cheer up our libertarian friends. Around two thirds across all four countries believe that "the fundamental values of our society are under serious threat" - again the right seems to be much more in tune with the public sentiment these days.

The whole paper is highly recommended as an interesting snapshot of what unites - and what divides - the English-speaking democracies.


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