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Sharp Drop in American Enthusiasm for Free Market, Poll Shows

6 April 2011 - American public support for the free market economy has dropped sharply in the past year, and is now lower than in China, according to a GlobeScan poll released today.

The findings, drawn from 12,884 interviews across 25 countries, show that there has been a sharp fall in the number of Americans who think that the free market economy is the best economic system for the future.


 

When GlobeScan began tracking views in 2002, four in five Americans (80%) saw the free market as the best economic system for the future—the highest level of support among tracking countries. Support started to fall away in the following years and recovered slightly after the financial crisis in 2007/8, but has plummeted since 2009, falling 15 points in a year so that fewer than three in five (59%) now see free market capitalism as the best system for the future.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “America is the last place we would have expected to see such a sharp drop in trust in the free enterprise system. This is not good news for business.”

The results mean that a number of the world’s major emerging economies have now matched or overtaken the USA in their enthusiasm for the free market. The Chinese and Brazilians, 67 per cent of whom regard the free market system as the best on offer, are now more positive about capitalism than Americans, while enthusiasm in India now equals that in the USA, with 59 per cent rating the free market as the best system for the future.

Among the 20 countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, an average of 54 per cent today rate the free market economy as the best economic system, unchanged from 2009.

Americans with incomes below $20,000 were particularly likely to have lost faith in the free market over the past year, with their support dropping from 76 per cent to 44 per cent between 2009 and 2010. American women have also become much less positive, with 52 per cent backing the free market in 2010, down from 73 per cent in 2009.

The poll was conducted by telephone in China and the US, and by telephone, in-person, or online in the 23 other countries between June 24 and September 18, 2010 by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its national partners. Before today’s public release, only clients of GlobeScan’s “Radar” reports have had access to these results. National results are considered accurate within +/- 3.0 to +/- 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller added: “The poll suggest that American business is close to losing its social contract with average American families that has enabled it to prosper in the world. Inspired leadership will be needed to reverse this trend.”

 


For more information, please contact:

Oliver Martin, Director, Global Development
GlobeScan Incorporated
+1 416 969 3073
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

About the GlobeScan Radar 

These findings are drawn from the GlobeScan Radar program, a syndicated service offering based on global public opinion research, covering a variety of issues around business in society. GlobeScan has been tracking issues and societal expectations for business across the world since 1999. GlobeScan Radar provides global decision-makers with critical insights and comparative country metrics needed to better understand the trends shaping their international business and policy environment. The research program is designed to help shape corporate strategies, policy positions, initiative development, and communications activities.

Fieldwork was conducted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the USA. Interviews were conducted via face-to-face, by telephone, or online (Japan only) between June 24 and September 18, 2010. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. Some urban-only surveying was conducted in certain developing countries, following generally accepted research standards in each country. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-3.0 to 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco. www.GlobeScan.com

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