Ipsos Global Advisor: Predictions for 2019

A new Ipsos Global Advisor poll among citizens of 31 countries investigates top issues of concern for 2019.

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
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Washington D.C, February 5, 2019 — Looking back on 2018, more Americans believe the year was bad for the country as a whole than it was for them personally. While less than the global average (62%), more than half (53%) of Americans said 2018 was a bad year for the country. Only 38% said it was bad for them and their families, marking a growing optimism compared to previous years. Last year, 45% said that 2017 was a bad year for them, and in 2017, 51% said the same about 2016. Looking forward to 2019, Americans continue to be optimistic about what is personally in store for them, but less so when it comes to the economy. Four in five (81%) believe that this year will be better for them than last year was, but the belief that the global economy will be stronger has dropped for the first time since 2013 (58% this year compared to 62% last year).

U.S. predictions for 2019

  • Americans are more likely to say 2018 was a bad year for the country as a whole than it was for them personally.
  • There is continued optimism about 2019, though optimism for the global economy is faltering.
  • This year, there is more concern for a major stock market crash and rising global temperatures, but less concern for Trump’s impeachment and a major terrorist attack.

Americans are pessimistic about the divisiveness of society in the coming year. Only one in four (20%) believe people in the U.S. will be more tolerant of each other, and a majority (58%) expect large-scale public unrest to protest the way the country is being run. Despite a turbulent year of politics, only a quarter (27%) of Americans believe it is likely that President Trump will be impeached.

When it comes to climate change, another highly divisive issue, the U.S. remains the most skeptical out of all 31 countries. Despite this, the number of individuals who believe average temperatures will increase in the coming year is rising (63% this year compared to 56% last year). Concern for other major world issues has also shifted since last year. Americans are more likely this year than last to believe that major stock markets around the world will crash (38% compared to 25% last year), but are less likely to believe that a major terrorist attack will be carried out in the U.S. (38% compared to 51% last year).

Global predictions for 2019

  • Global predictions for the world economy are less optimistic than in 2018
  • Many countries also expect public unrest in the coming year
  • After a hot 2018 most expect global temperatures to continue to rise

The latest Ipsos Global Advisor poll was carried out in 31 countries around the world at the end of 2018. It asked over 21,000 online adults aged under 64 their predictions for 2019, and covered a range of topics on the economy, world affairs, technological advancements, society and culture, and more improbable events…

The economy

Two in five (37%) expect major stock markets around the world to crash in 2019, which has risen from around a quarter who expected a crash in 2018 (28%). All countries have grown more pessimistic about the economy since 2018 – apart from a handful in South America who have remained level pegging. The biggest changes have happened in Great Britain (47% compared with 25% for last year) and Russia (47% compared with 26%) where expectations of a crash have nearly doubled.

In turn, those saying that the global economy will strengthen in the year ahead has dropped from three in five (59%) last year to now nearer half (53%). India (85%) and Peru (81%) remain the most optimistic nations, but have now been joined by Brazil (where confidence has risen from 67% to 76%). Optimism has dropped in China, which led the pack last year (86%), but has since slipped down to three in four (76%). Other notable falls have happened in France (from 36% to 24%), Japan (39% to 28%) and Great Britain (46% to 30%).

World affairs

Around the world, people are most confident in predicting that average global temperatures will increase this year, with nearly four in five (78%) thinking so (up from 71% last year). Malaysia (88%), Chile (88%) and Turkey (86%) are the most confident for the second year in a row, while there have been significant increases in Russia, Japan and more widely across Europe, in Poland, Great Britain, France and Belgium. Following President Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement last year, Americans remain the most sceptical about rising temperatures (63%).

Attitudes to President Trump’s future remain relatively unchanged since last year, with a third (32%) predicting his impending impeachment. As trade discussions between the United States and China intensify, the Chinese are now the most likely to think his removal from office is imminent (50%).

Western Europe remains the most concerned about a terrorist attack this year, with nearly two in three (63%) in France thinking it is likely, closely followed by Great Britain (57%), Israel and Russia (both 52%). South American countries seem less concerned, as seen in Argentina (13%), Mexico (15%), Peru (15%), along with Serbia (13%).


Half the global population (50%) think that their personal data will be leaked on the internet this year, but only around a quarter say they will be using social media less (28%). Countries most wary of their data being leaked include Turkey (69%), South Korea (68%) and China (65%), while this drops to nearer three in ten in Serbia (29%) and Germany (31%). Meanwhile, in China, three in four (76%) think a social media detox is unlikely.

Two in five (38%) on average predict that doctors in their country will use artificial intelligence to decide on treatment for their patients in 2019. This is seen as more likely across Asia, particularly in China (60%), Malaysia (58%) and India (57%), whereas Eastern Europe seems more hesitant, as seen in Russia (21%), Hungary (23%), Czech Republic (25%) and Serbia (25%).

People also expect technology to have an impact on their leisure patterns. Eight in ten on average (80%) think it’s likely that people around the world will spend more time online than watching TV in 2019.

Society and culture

Over half (56%) expect large scale public unrest (such as protests or riots) in their countries. Following on from the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests in 2018, President Macron’s problems do not appear to be ending this year, with four in five (83%) in France predicting more unrest, closely followed by Hungary (75%). The Japanese are less likely to predict public action, with two in three (67%) saying unrest would be unlikely.

Two in five (42%) think that women will be paid the same as men for the same work, but women are much less optimistic than men (by 36% to 48%). Only one in four Germans (23%) think it is likely.

People do not expect social divisions to heal very much in 2019, as just a quarter (26% on average) think people in their country will become more tolerant of each other. At least eight in ten think it unlikely that tolerance will increase in many European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, and France.

Three in ten (31%) think they will feel lonely for most of 2019, even higher in China (43%), Saudi Arabia (43%), and up to three in five (57%) in Turkey. Even at its lowest level in Israel and Serbia, loneliness was still a concern for one in five (20%).


Nearly two in five (38%) think it likely that a cure for the common cold will be discovered this year. Britons are much less hopeful at only one in eight (13%), followed by Canada (17%) and Japan (17%).

While no nations were very convinced that any will happen, still over one in ten globally think there is a likely chance of discovering the existence of ghosts (16%) and time travel (15%), or Earth being visited by aliens (13%).

Reflecting back and looking ahead

People are more likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (62%), than it was for their them and their family (46%). In a year with the controversial election of President Bolsonaro, Brazilians are among the most likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (85%), narrowly behind neighbouring Argentina (86%), who were also most likely to say that it had been a bad year for them and their family. Comparatively, only three in ten in the Netherlands (33%), China (30%) and Czech Republic (29%) agreed that 2018 had been a bad year for their nation.

Three in four (75%) are optimistic that 2019 will be better than last year, particularly across South America where this sentiment was near unanimous in Peru (94%), Colombia (92%) and Mexico (90%). Whereas, only half in France (50%) were as positive, and even fewer in Japan (42%).

About the Study

These are the findings of the Global Advisor Wave predictions survey for 2019. In total 21,141 interviews were conducted December 21, 2018 – January 9, 2019 among adults aged 18-64 in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, and among adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.

The survey was conducted in 31 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system, including: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

In every country, approximately 1000+ individuals participated the survey except in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, India, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where samples consist of 500+ individuals.

Weighting was 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.

In 18 of the 31 countries surveyed, internet penetration is sufficiently high to think of the samples as representative of the wider population with the age ranges covered: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States.

Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, Chile, Colombia and Malaysia have lower levels of internet penetration and so, their samples should be considered to represent a more affluent, connected population. These are still a vital social group, representing an important emerging middle class in these countries.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead

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