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The Halifax International Security Forum and Ipsos Release Global Polling Data
November 20, 2014


20 November 2014

Washington, DC – On the eve of the 6th annual Forum taking place from 21 – 23 November in Halifax, Canada, the Halifax International Security Forum and Ipsos, the leading global market and opinion research firm, are releasing new findings about global views of today’s crises. The views from citizens in 24 countries include perspectives on the threat of the Islamic State, Ebola, and renewed armed conflicts as well as views on Canadian and American leadership to address these crises.

Conducted annually since 2010, the poll found that Americans and Canadians alike see the world as an increasingly dangerous place. Two-thirds of Americans and 60% of Canadians agree that the world is more dangerous this year than last year and that the threat of an armed conflict has spiked dramatically. Data collected between October 5th to 19th of this year shows three-quarters of Americans and 64% of Canadians support air strikes against ISIL even though less than 41% of these citizens believe air strikes will succeed in eliminating ISIL. It’s not only armed conflict, but the Ebola outbreak led to a recent spike in concerns about a health epidemic. In Canada, concerns nearly doubled since 2010 (from 34% to 62%) while growing substantially in the US (from 46% to 74%).

“The findings suggest to us that Canadians and Americans are looking for leadership to address today’s global threats that are all the more challenging because they do not respect borders” said Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum. “Leaders and policymakers at the Halifax International Security Forum will have to consider these views as they debate solutions to these challenges once they return home.”

Citizens from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States all saw increases of 18 – 30% in concerns about the potential for armed conflict. Turkey and the United States are the most worried.

The United States and China remain the two countries where the highest numbers of people agree that “under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice” though these numbers rose dramatically in Europe with increases of 14 – 21% in France, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Poland. Populations also support increasing defense spending, including over 50% of Germans.

Most citizens believe it is a good thing that the US has a special responsibility to assist countries when those countries are confronted by military aggressors. Indians, South Koreans and Canadians are most in favor of that sentiment while 42% or less of Russian and Chinese citizens feel the same. Russians feel strongly that they have enough common values to cooperate with China.

These results will inform discussions at the Halifax International Security Forum between people on the frontlines facing consequential threats, writers who challenge and influence the world’s thinking on security and decision-makers who make the tough choices. The Halifax International Security Forum is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC.

A full summation of the findings as well as the research undertaken can be found here.

For more information about the Halifax International Security Forum please contact our communications team at: communications@halifaxtheforum.org and for more information on research produced for the Forum please contact Dr. Darrell Bricker, Global CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs at darrell.bricker@ipsos.com or 416-324-2001

Follow the Halifax International Security Forum on Twitter @HFXforum and join the conversation using #HISF2014