Washington, DC, November 7, 2005—According to a new poll commissioned by Terror Free Tomorrow and conducted by Ipsos, a majority of the American public supports increased assistance to the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, when informed of the facts.
These results compare favorably to a survey gauging the public’s response to the tsunami that struck Indonesia. Once apprised of the situation, just as many Americans say that we should increase aid to Pakistan as said we should increase aid to Indonesia after the tsunami. The poll is the first nationwide survey of Americans since the Pakistani earthquake on October 8th.
The difference in the American public’s view between the two natural disasters is that due to lower levels of awareness, the public must be informed of the earthquake’s impact in Pakistan. A strong majority (71%) of those surveyed have read or seen less in the news media on the Pakistan earthquake than on the tsunami that struck Asia at the end of last year- just 19% say that the coverage they have seen or read is about the same.
When asked simply if they would increase aid, a plurality of 49% favors such an increase. When told of the casualty figures (almost 80,000 dead and 3 million homeless), that percentage rises to 55% in support of an increase. Last January in response to a similar question on aid to Indonesia following the tsunami, 57% favored increasing American assistance. The results of the two polls are thus nearly identical, and within both polls’ margin of error of 3%. Raising awareness of the extent of the loss of life and homelessness in Pakistan corresponds with a demand for an increase in assistance across gender, age, and income sub-groups. Compared to only 13% of the American public that thinks the United States should generally increase assistance to other countries, support for a stronger response by the United States to the Pakistani earthquake, as occurred with the tsunami, is significant.
“These poll results demonstrate that the American people feel as strongly about helping the Pakistani people now, as they felt about helping tsunami victims earlier this year,” said Husain Haqqani, an adviser to several former Pakistani prime ministers, and currently Director of Boston University's Center for International Relations and Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“The reason there is not the same kind of palpable groundswell of public support for increased American aid and leadership to the Pakistani earthquake victims now as in the tsunami relates to the lack of coverage and public attention, and not to the merits of the case for increased aid and involvement,” Ken Ballen, President of Terror Free Tomorrow added.
The Terror Free Tomorrow poll surveyed 1,006 American adults over November 1-3, 2005 and has a margin of error of 3.1%.
For complete poll results, click here.
For detailed demographic tables, click here.
For Ipsos-Public Affairs on the poll, click here.
For an editorial discussing the poll, click here.
For an op-ed discussing the poll, click here.