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Tepid U.S. support for United Nations warms slightly

A new Gallup poll shows that the American public is not an enthusiastic fan of the United Nations but that it holds a better view of the organization than it did at the end of the Bush years, showing that the Obama administration’s support for the world organization has been boosting its image. The Gallup ...

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A new Gallup poll shows that the American public is not an enthusiastic fan of the United Nations but that it holds a better view of the organization than it did at the end of the Bush years, showing that the Obama administration’s support for the world organization has been boosting its image.

The Gallup World Affairs poll — conducted from February 1-3 — shows that 31 percent of Americans believe the U.N. is doing a good job, up from 26 percent the previous year, marking the highest approval rating since 2005. The poll found that Democrats (45 percent) are twice as likely as Republicans (22 percent) to credit the U.N. with doing a good job.

Gallup has been polling Americans on their views of the United Nations since 1953. On average, 40 percent of Americans say each year that the U.N. is doing a good job. The United Nations got its highest rating, 58 percent, in 2002, just months after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York and Washington. At the time, the organization rallied behind the United States, and the U.N. Security Council passed a series of counterterrorism measures aimed at restricting the ability of America’s foes, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to raise funds and recruit supporters.

But the relationship deteriorated after the U.S. failed in 2003 to garner explicit support from the U.N. Security Council to launch its war against Iraq.

Colum Lynch is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @columlynch

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