Majority (67%) of Global Citizens Support the Closing of their Borders as Few (33%) Believe COVID-19 is Contained

New Zealand Gets Top Marks for How They’ve Dealt with COVID-19; United States Gets Failing Grade; Opinions about the WHO are Mixed

The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Toronto, ON, Nov 22, 2020 – A majority of global citizens support border closures in an effort to combat COVID-19, as relatively few believe the coronavirus is contained, according to new Ipsos polling conducted on behalf of the Halifax International Security Forum. The poll of over 21,000 people in 28 countries reveals that most global citizens are supportive of turning more insular in order to fight the virus at home.

Two in three (67%) agree (30% strongly/38% somewhat) that their country should close their borders and not allow anyone in or out until the Coronavirus of COVID-19 is proven to be contained. Those most likely to support the closure of their borders include Malaysia (92%), Australia (83%), Canada (82%), Chile (82%), Peru (81%) and South Africa (78%). Two in three (67%) Americans support the closure of their borders. Some country’s residents (mostly in Europe) are much less likely to agree with the closure of their borders, including those in the Netherlands (44%), Sweden (47%), Germany (50%), Belgium (52%) and Hungary (56%) and Poland (57%).

That support for border closures is so strong is likely a function of the fact that relatively few believe that COVID-19 is contained. Just one in three (33%) global citizens agrees (7% strongly/26% somewhat) that the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak has been contained and will soon be over. Those in Malaysia (71%), Saudi Arabia (69%), India (68%), China (58%) and Russia (52%) are most likely to believe that the virus is largely contained, while those in Great Britain (17%), Spain (18%), Japan (19%), Belgium (20%), Canada (21%), France (21%), Chile (21%) and Australia (21%) are much less likely to believe it has been contained. One quarter (27%) of Americans believe COVID-19 has been contained and will soon be over.

Given the difficult economic issues in their country today, eight in ten (78%) global citizens agrees (33% strongly/45% somewhat) that their country needs to focus less on the world and more at home, up 5 points since last year. Those in Russia (89%, +4), Turkey (88%, +17), Colombia (88%, +2) and South Africa (86%, +4) are most inclined to hold this position, while those in Germany (65%, +4), Sweden (66%, no change), Italy (67%, +2) and the Netherlands (69%, +13) are less likely to believe their country should do this.

New Zealand Gets Tops Marks on COVID-19 Response; US Earns a Failing Grade

Global citizens were asked to assess whether or not certain countries or organizations have shown good leadership in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand earns top marks from global citizens, with 74% believing that New Zealand has demonstrated good leadership. However, only 22% believe the same can be said about how the United States has dealt with the pandemic. The chart below shows the proportion of citizens who believe that each country/organization tested has shown good leadership.

chart1The United States is clearly lagging the field, and even only 39% of Americans believe that the US has shown leadership through its COVID-19 response. The only entity that Americans judge harsher is China (32%), and Americans believe that Canada’s response (84%) has shown the most leadership.

Opinions about the WHO and whether it has shown good leadership in its response to the pandemic are mixed. Those most inclined to believe the WHO has shown leadership include Malaysia (84%), South Africa (72%), Sweden (68%), Mexico (68%) and Brazil (65%). Those least likely to believe the WHO has shown good leadership include Japan (27%), South Korea (28%), Peru (32%), Chile (52%), Poland (52%), Italy (52%) and Spain (52%).

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey conducted between August 21st and September 4th, 2020. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 21,104 adults aged 18-74 in the US and Canada, and age 16-74 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in that country had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker

CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs

+1 416 324 2001

[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs