Americans growing more pessimistic about country direction

New What Worries the World survey shows concerns over crime and violence, extremism are on the rise

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, July 30, 2020 — The latest Ipsos What Worries the World study shows that Americans say the country is off on the wrong track, at levels not seen since 2014. This rising frustration is also seen globally. Coronavirus/COVID-19 continues to hold as the top concern both globally and in the U.S.

Topline Findings

Seventy-two percent of Americans now believe the country is off on the wrong track, up seven points from June. Just 28% think the country is heading in the right direction.

  • Americans have not reported this level of pessimism in the direction of the country since March 2014. There have only been two instances in the metric’s history where this has been higher (77% in April 2013, 75% in September 2013).
  • Americans are more pessimistic than the global average. Overall, 61% say things in their country are off on the wrong track.

Right Direction/ Wrong Track

While coronavirus remains the top concern in America (50%, unchanged from last month’s 52%), more are now concerned about crime and violence. One in three Americans (34%) are concerned about crime and violence, up from 26% in June and 13% in May. At the same time, rise of extremism has increased by 13 percentage points since last month (23%, up from 10% in June and 7% in May), jumping into the fifth-highest concern (11th overall last month).

US Concern

This is the fourth month that Ipsos has included coronavirus/COVID-19 in the list of issues covered in its monthly What Worries the World survey. The latest wave was conducted between June 19 and July 3, 2020, among 18,548 adults aged under 74 from 27 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

Among the 27 countries surveyed, coronavirus/COVID-19 is mentioned as the single top concern in 11 countries. This marks a drop from the June and April surveys, which saw Coronavirus/COVID-19 listed as the single top concern in 13 and 25 of the 27 countries, respectively. Concern over COVID-19 is currently highest in Chile (61%), India (61%), Peru (60%), and Saudi Arabia (60%).

Top worries globally are Coronavirus/COVID-19 (43%), unemployment (40%), poverty & social inequality (32%), financial/political corruption (27%), and crime & violence (24%).

  • While the top four held their rank from the previous month, crime & violence (24%) has overtaken healthcare (22%) to enter the top five global concerns.
  • The U.S. leads all countries surveyed in the level of worry over the rise in extremism (23%) and moral decline (22%).

Global Concern

About the Study

The survey is conducted monthly in 27 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

An international sample of 18,548 adults aged 18-74 in the US, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, and Canada, and age 16-74 in all other countries, were interviewed between June 19th, 2020, and July 3rd, 2020. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size 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 for a 500 sample 19 times out of 20.

A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size 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 for a 500 sample 19 times out of 20.

In 17 of the 27 countries surveyed internet penetration is sufficiently high to think of the samples as representative of the wider population within the age ranges covered: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, and the United States.

Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey have lower levels of internet penetration and so these samples should not be considered nationally representative, and instead be considered to represent a more affluent, connected population. These are still a vital social group to understand in these countries, representing an important and emerging middle class.

The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.1 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

Weighting has been 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.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420 2025
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755 8829
kate.silverstein@ipsos.com

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).

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www.ipsos.com

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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