Buckingham Palace with crowds on the Mall

Those interested in the historical perspectives of the polling industry may be interested to see in the Survey Magazine issue for Summer 1998* the report that “a handful of friendly researchers from different countries met in Sussex in 1947 under the informal chairmanship of Dr Gallup” to establish Gallup International and among other objectives to carry out an annual international poll of opinions on a wide range of current political, social and economic issues.

This structure was formalised in 1977 when a survey was conducted on world peace expectations: this found that only 20% of EU citizens and 37% of US voters felt that the chances of world war breaking out in the next ten years were at least even.

Compare this with a new 2017 survey by YouGov across nine countries: this has found a majority thinking that world peace has rarely been further way – 64% of Americans and 61% in Britain think the world is close to a major war. And 59% Americans and 71% of Britons say they feel threatened by Russia.

The comparison between the earlier research, easily found in the Archive, and the current research by YouGov, shows clearly that the world is not seen as safe, in the way it was 40 years ago.


*The Archive (www.amsr.org.uk) contains a wide range of valuable material that is free to access and this may be found in the Archive under ‘Survey Magazine (1983-1991)’, or by clicking on this direct link to the archive (link will open as a separate page).


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