by Patrick Goodenough, CNSnews:
Americans overall have a slightly more positive view of the United Nations now than they did during President Obama’s first year in office, but the divide between Republicans and Democrats on the subject is the biggest measured by the Pew Research Center since it began asking the question in 1990.
As the world body hosts leaders for the annual General Assembly session opening and parallel events in New York City, Pewreports that there is a 37 percent difference between Republican and Democratic respondents when asked whether they view the U.N. favorably.
Eighty percent of Democrats say they view the U.N. favorably, compared to just 43 percent of Republicans. Sixty-four percent of independents share that opinion.
That gap of 37 percent is the biggest yet measured by Pew, it said.
Obama, who has made deeper engagement with the U.N. a key foreign policy priority, addressed the General Assembly for the last time on Tuesday.
American taxpayers account for 22 percent of the regular budget of the U.N., plus 28.5 percent of the separate peacekeeping budget. The U.S. in addition provides billions of dollars more each year in “voluntary contributions” to a spread of U.N. agencies, ranging from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.
In 1990, the partisan divide among Americans about the value of the U.N. stood at just five points – 73 percent of Democrats, and 68 percent of Republicans held favorable views. Supporters of both parties held overall positive opinions of the U.N. until 9/11.
Pew surveys found that Republican support for the U.N. dropped below 50 percent after the 2003 Iraq War, and has remained in that territory or lower ever since, reaching a nadir of 38 percent favorability in 2007 (when the partisan gap was 20 points.)
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