The Polls-Trends: U.S. Public Support for the United Nations

Posted: 15 Mar 2010

Date Written: Spring 2010


In the aftermath of the failure to come to a diplomatic resolution regarding Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent military strike by the United States and its allies without United Nations (UN) approval, the usefulness and role of international diplomatic institutions such as the UN are undergoing a reexamination. The U.S. public has shown a high degree of general support for the UN since its inception. Although judgments of UN performance rose and fell over the years, support for strengthening the UN and for continued U.S. participation and cooperation with the UN remained strong and stable. Most notably, approval of UN performance dropped to an all-time low between 2003 and 2007, after the contentious debate over the use of force against Iraq. Nonetheless, support for the UN has remained strong because the U.S. public differentiates between criticism of UN performance and support for the general purpose and aims of the UN.

Suggested Citation

Holyk, Gregory G., The Polls-Trends: U.S. Public Support for the United Nations (Spring 2010). Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 74, Issue 1, pp. 168-189, 2010, Available at SSRN: or

Gregory G. Holyk (Contact Author)

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