Analysis and research-driven commentary tied to poll findings and developments in the news

Aug. 11, 2013

Reached middle-class status? Start complaining about it

In China, one of the greatest economic transformations in history is taking place, as millions move from poverty into the middle class.

Aug. 6, 2013

China finding superpower path no cakewalk

China’s power is growing, but as it assumes a more prominent role on the world stage, its global reputation is beset by a host of challenges.

Aug. 5, 2013

Asia’s view of China – mostly wary, but Japan most of all

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for high-level talks with China comes at a time when Japanese attitudes toward China have soured precipitously as tensions have grown due to disputes over trade, geopolitics and history.

Jul. 26, 2013

America’s International Image Slipping

In the fifth year of the Obama presidency, the United States’ image remains strong around the world compared with the last years of the administration of President George W. Bush. Still, pro-America sentiment is slipping.

Jul. 19, 2013

Is Abe ready for Japanese expectations?

Japanese voters head to the polls elect members of the upper house of Japan’s national legislature, and the ballot is shaping up as a referendum on the seven-month tenure of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.

Jul. 11, 2013

American International Engagement on the Rocks

Getting the American public’s attention, let alone commitment to deal with international issues is as challenging as it has ever been in the modern era. The depth and duration of the public’s disengagement these days goes well beyond the periodic spikes in isolationist sentiment that have been observed over the past 50 years.

Jun. 26, 2013

Obama Ahead of U.S. Public on Climate Change

The Obama administration is stepping up its game in dealing with climate change. Such moves echo widespread public concern about global warming outside the United States.

Jun. 11, 2013

Australians Happy – But Not with Their Government

With the September general election approaching, polls show the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard trailing the opposition by a growing margin, despite the fact that Australians are among the most satisfied publics in the world.

May. 28, 2013

World Worried about Inequality

Income inequality has been growing at an increasingly rapid pace. And publics around the world – and especially in Europe – are taking note.

May. 27, 2013

Abenomics’ Challenge: The Japanese Attitude

Government must bridge gap between personal, national expectations

May. 14, 2013

The New Sick Man of Europe

Today, it is the European Union itself that is the sick man of Europe. Efforts over the past half-century to create a more united continent are now the principal casualties of the ongoing eurozone crisis. This creates yet another complication for European leaders as they attempt to craft a way forward in dealing with the economic and political consequences of the ‘Great Recession’.

May. 14, 2013

Threat to the EU: German Exceptionalism Poses a Challenge

The euro crisis has exposed a range of intra-European problems long hidden from the harsh light of day. Not the least of these is German exceptionalism. Over the last two generations one goal of the European project has been to narrow the differences between Germany and the rest of Europe. But recent economic difficulties have only amplified those dissimilarities.

May. 14, 2013

Europeans Grow Dissatisfied with the Inequities of the Economic System

A major casualty of the euro crisis has been Europeans’ faith in the fairness of their economic system. In what is now the fifth year in the wake of the Great Recession, Europeans believe that inequality is now a major problem in their societies and think that things will only get worse.

May. 13, 2013

France and Germany: A Tale of Two Countries Drifting Apart

A political, economic and demographic divide has opened up between France and Germany. The two countries, which have for decades been the driving force behind European integration, increasingly see the world through different lenses. This new evidence of a dramatic divergence of public opinion raises new questions about prospects for the European Project.

May. 10, 2013

What Pakistan Thinks

As the country prepares for this weekend’s elections, the Taliban has significantly stepped up its attacks. And no matter which party emerges victorious from the May 11 poll, it will have to answer to a public that is increasingly worried about the threat extremism poses to the Pakistani state.

May. 8, 2013

Pakistani Opposition Leaders Get High Marks in Run-up to Elections

When 91% of the public thinks the country is on the wrong track, it’s usually a good sign for the opposition’s electoral hopes, and as Pakistan prepares for parliamentary elections, supporters of two major opposition parties are feeling optimistic. Moreover, as a new Pew Research Center poll highlights, the leaders of those two parties are getting positive reviews from the public.

May. 2, 2013

Little International Support for Arming Syria Rebels

Growing evidence that the Syrian government may have used chemical weapons against its own people has led to demands for the U.S. to intervene in the Syrian civil war. As American pundits and politicians call for intervention, however merited or unjustified those appeals may be on humanitarian grounds, such pleas have yet to rally majority support for such action in America, Europe or the Middle East.

May. 1, 2013

How Mexicans See America

Mexican approval ratings of the U.S. are at their highest point since 2009. This boost in America’s image comes amidst rising expectations that Washington may soon reform U.S. immigration laws. The question now is whether the two countries can build on the promise fostered by the proposed immigration policy and cement some of the progress that appears to have been made.

Apr. 3, 2013

Americans Divided over Immigration Reform

The immigration debate in Washington is likely to heat up in the weeks ahead. Indians, Chinese and others either hoping to migrate to America (even those with advanced skills) or those with loved ones living illegally and precariously within the United States should realize that despite largely supportive rhetoric emanating from both Congress and the White House, the U.S. public remains divided over immigration reform.

Apr. 1, 2013

Americans’ Support for TPP Remains Untested

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement that Japan will join negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the U.S. and other Pacific Basin nations won early support from the Japanese people, according to snap surveys following his statement. The decision was also welcomed in official circles in Washington, D.C., where the Obama administration has long supported Japan becoming party to the talks.

Mar. 20, 2013

What Japanese and Americans Think about Each Other

Japan’s decision to join negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the United States and other Pacific nations reflects, in part, the sea change in public opinion that has transformed U.S.-Japan relations. The upcoming TPP negotiations will be contentious. But the political context in which these talks will take place is far more supportive than ever before.

Mar. 19, 2013

Obama’s Israel Challenge

Criticized by some for being insufficiently pro-Israel during his first term, and dogged by relatively low ratings in Israel, President Obama travels there this week to deliver a major address in Jerusalem. The Obama administration can only hope this speech is more warmly received among Israelis than his last high-profile address in the region at Cairo University in June 2009.

Mar. 13, 2013

What Chinese Are Worried About

When incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping takes office, he will be dealing with a public that is increasingly concerned about issues beyond simple economic growth. Such problems will provide some daunting challenges for the new president and his team over the next few years.

Mar. 4, 2013

Will Budget Cuts = Isolationism?

The forced budget cuts, known in Washington as sequestration, are now in force. These reductions in defense spending, anti-terrorism activities, foreign aid and the budget for the State Department will shrink the U.S. footprint around the world, with consequences for the projection of both U.S. hard and soft power.

Feb. 22, 2013

American Star Power Still Rules the Globe

Surveys consistently show that movies – and more broadly, American popular culture – are a strong suit of U.S. soft power. And, while studio executives spend considerably more time thinking about box office returns than public diplomacy, Tinseltown is actually pretty effective at nudging America’s international image in a positive direction.

Feb. 19, 2013

The Public Supports a Transatlantic Trade Pact – For Now

The ultimate public verdict on a U.S.-EU trade and investment agreement has yet to be rendered, but on the eve of such negotiations, both Americans and Europeans seem disposed to try.

Feb. 18, 2013

How America and Japan See the World

The U.S.-Japan relationship has gone through numerous ups and downs in the last few decades and Americans’ fears that Japan Inc. will overwhelm them have subsided. Yet challenges remain: how to jointly deal with China, North Korea and Iran, and whether Tokyo will join with other Asian governments and Washington in creating a transpacific free trade area.

Feb. 11, 2013

China and Cyber Attacks: A Top Concern of U.S. Experts

China’s alleged cyber-espionage campaigns against other governments, major corporations and, most recently, the media, have increasingly become a focus of U.S. officials and news reports. In the superpower competition between the U.S. and China, most American experts ranked cyber attacks from China as a more serious problem than the economic or military challenges it poses.

Feb. 7, 2013

Seeds of Unrest in Pakistan’s Economy

The news out of Pakistan is unrelentingly bad, but headline-grabbing events obscure a more insidious problem: the profound economic challenges facing Pakistani society. And this economic malaise is worsening, thus complicating India’s relationship with its neighbour.

Feb. 6, 2013

The U.S. Focuses on Its Homefront

The president’s inaugural address and the confirmation testimony of Kerry and Hagel are being scrutinized by foreigners for signs of America’s international intentions. To separate lofty ambitions from practical realities, their statements must be interpreted in the context of U.S. public opinion – and that means they should be taken with a large grain of salt.