This paper is an amended and extended version – thanks are due to the inspiration from Hardmeier et al. 2005 – of the first half of a presentation at the 58th annual conference of WAPOR in Cannes, France, September 15-17, 2005. (Second half is here.) The conference theme was "Search for a New World Order — the Role of Public Opinion". Parts of this text are excerpts from my book manuscripts "Gallup Goes International" and "The Many-Splendored Society." © The author.

Opinion Polling on International Political Accords

By Hans L Zetterberg, Bromma, Sweden

A hundred years ago Max Weber, the leading social scientist of his day, took the nation-state as a self-evident unit for a rational organization of the modern world. We can no longer do so. Too many issues acquire a scope beyond the nation-state. Opinion researchers, who have been set up to do national polls, are challenged to deal with many issues in international polls.

In the 1970s Daniel Bell diagnosed a weakness in modern states. A "mismatch of scales" had evolved that made most nation-states too big for social undertakings such as education for children and care of the elderly, and too small for other problems such as industrial production, currency, and environmental threats (Bell 1976). Three decades later, we can add that nation-states have since proven too small to cope with threats of worldwide epidemics such as avian influenza, natural disasters such as giant tsunamis, and mass destruction by worldwide terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda. It no longer takes the resources of a state to destroy another state. With modern weapons of mass destruction an international terror network can probably do what was once the exclusive power of a state.

Communications that break through national boundaries

Nation-states are territorial bodies. Over a hundred years ago we saw the technology and organization of transportation of goods and persons become global. Financial transaction could also be international. Before World War I, Max Weber’s family in Germany invested in American railroad bonds and shares. Print, voice and visual media were drawn into the globalization process: newsprint, the telegraph and telephone, spread across borders. The decades around 1900 saw all territories of the world penetrated by denser grids of transportation over land, and over sea. "Around the World in 80 Days" became a reality. A main contribution to global wealth at that time came from the huge migration of labor, primarily the immigration to the United States. World trade, internationalization of finance, and the technologies of steam, oil, and electricity aided the process. All came to a rather unexpected end in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I.

In our time, air transport, satellite communications, the Internet have arrived, all with global reach. The ease of publishing and communicating text, music and pictures across borders has been drastically increased by the World Wide Web. In addition to making local subcultures easily available on home pages to curious users all over, web publishing also adds to the speed and spread of already established media. The World Wide Web has also become a universal library, in principal accessible everywhere at all hours and days. (A small example at this congress: An electronic peer review of articles of our International Journal of Political Opinion Research will be discussed at our meeting.)

A heritage of the twentieth century is that major life areas tend to ignore national boundaries. Each life area has its way of spreading to new territories. Globalization is a different process in each life area. Science, polity, economy, religion, art, and morality have each their own globalizations.

In earlier centuries religions accounted for expansion beyond local territories. In the recent century, of the major religions only Islam seems to keep up a missionary zeal. Science expands and knows no borders. Art is another realm of activity that knows no boundaries; particularly the universal spread of recorded music adds to experiences shared worldwide. Global entertainment and global news media do the same.

Production technology is global. At the millennium China aspired to become the world’s factory and India the world’s computer office. (Europe seems bent upon becoming the world’s museum.) The major force of the present globalization is the worldwide market economy. All the other factors – science, transport, electronic communication, global media, Internet, et cetera – seem pale in their globalization compared to the market economy. It is hard to prove this but the journalists reporting on the matter are unanimous. (See for example, Greider 1997, Friedman 2005.)

A failed globalization of polity: Colonialism

After the discovery of America, colonialism became a European form of political globalization. In the colonial era borders were drawn as the result of military conquests of overseas territories, and they were redrawn as the result of fierce wars in Europe between competing colonial powers. The British Empire was the most victorious power both in overseas continents and in Europe.

Colonialism came to a predictable end. Why? First, we instinctively raise our guard a little when we encounter new people different from ourselves. This tendency can be reinforced by groups practicing measures of exclusion; the colonists’ behavior indicated that they felt superior to the natives. Such an attitude can be counteracted by social designs that foster tolerance, and other measures of inclusion. Such measures were in short supply among the European colonists. In most colonial situations, the indigenous people did not want to be ruled by strangers, while most everyone preferred to be ruled by their own people. The military and administrative costs to maintain sovereignty in the colonies became high, and the colonies threatened to become a drain rather than a benefit.

Second, the economic benefits of overseas territories did not require violent conquest and suppression; they could be achieved by trade. United States, the first colony to achieve independence from a colonial empire, grew up to prove that a nation can be a world power without being a colonial power. The American success has produced defensive bilge among the former colonial powers in Europe and is a source of anti-Americanism.

Colonialism now belongs in the history books. The last colonial empire, the Soviet Union, had its colonies, not overseas but on the adjacent Eurasian land mass. It collapsed as recently as 1989.

Entering the twenty-first century, the world has a few important forms of political globalization. Also, the ability of the international community to change its body politic to cope with global issues is quite modest and slow compared to the rapid global changes in economy, science, and the popular arts.

Opinion polls and political accords within states

Before looking at the process of achieving international political accords with the support of public opinion, let us briefly review the more familiar process of achieving domestic accords with public support.

In a civilized state, political decisions require a broad base of "consent of the governed," and this may take some time to achieve. To avoid delays, decisions can be taken without full consensus by a majority of citizens. This was done in assemblies of all the citizens in some ancient Greek city-states.

In more recent centuries a different mechanism came into use: representatives of the citizens, but not each and every one, take decisions on behalf of all citizens. To repeat what we all know: in a modern democratic nation-state, domestic political issues are settled through legislation by representatives elected by majority rule whose decisions in the legislature also are based on majority rule. An open debate with guaranteed rights of free expression, both in the electorate and in the legislature precedes all decisions. The legislation is administered by government agencies and is enforced in independent courts of law. All this is formalized in a constitution.

Thus, elections with majority rule, representation, rule of law (not of men), division of powers, entrenched rights, and a written constitution are the cornerstones of the United States of America; its charter drafted in 1787 had provisions for all this. The American Revolution, like the French, was carried out in the name of republicanism, not democracy. Revolutionary zeal was directed at the European kingdoms, and the achieved new order was democracy. This modern version of democracy is an original development, not a copy, or even an adaptation, of an ancient Greek order.

The US Constitution did not mention political parties. Nowadays most writers add a multi-party system among the pre-requisites of a democracy.

Public opinion polls on issues have found a role in the democratic process. Pollsters working for mass media adjust to the system of majority rule by reporting percentages showing majority and minority views in their tables; they do not produce factor or cluster analyses, nor do they penetrate latent structures of opinions like academics. Most of the time polls on issues facilitate democratic decisions. Sometimes pollsters impede the the process by rushing to mass media with poll results on issues that the public has not yet had a chance to inform themselves about and discuss, and about which they have not yet formed mature opinions (Yankelovich 1996). Pollsters also do pre-election polls that reveal the standing of candidates running for office. It is, as we in WAPOR know, a fascinating enterprise (cf. Worcester 2005). This type of polling has less obvious effect on consensus formation than polls on issues.

From polls to laws

All steps between polled opinion and legislation in democracies have not been documented by reserach. Some steps in the linkage between polls and legislation that have and have not been subject to research are:

The extent and trends with which political issues on the agenda of a legislature have been subject to political opinion polling (No research known to me). Most legislation in most democracies concerns topics that probably have not been preceded by any polls.

The extent and trends with which polls published as news are cited by editorial writers (e.g. Holmberg 19?? for Sweden), columnists (No research known to me), and intellectuals (No research known to me).

The extent and trends with which polls are invoked in messages by candidates in their campaigns for political office (No research known to me). There may be no such explicit references to polling results even in campaigns by candidates or parties who have used polls in preparing their campaigns.

The extent and trends with which polls are cited in memoranda preparatory to legislation in political think tanks (No research known to me) and in party headquarters (No research known to me).

The extent and trends with which poll findings are invoked in debates or hearings in the US Congress (Traugott 2000) and in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and New Zeeland (Hardmeier et al. 2005)

The overlap of opinions in polls of voters for a party in the electorate and opinions in polls of party representatives in the legislature (e.g. Holmberg 1974 for Sweden).

The perception of legislators of opinions among their constituencies (e.g. Hedlund et al. 1972 for the United States).

The extent and trends to which voting by members of US Congress is congruent with polling results among their constituents (e.g. Miller & Stokes 1963).

The extent and trends to which final legislation enacted agrees with national public opinion polls (e.g. Brettschneider 1995 in Germany for the period 1949-90) and with comparison between 36 countries with somewhat different democratic systems (e.g. Ljiphart 1999).

Hopefully, this list will soon stand corrected and the many references (No research known to me) will be replaced by (Author Year).

Steps 8 and 9 above, so called "congruence studies," are the most common research projects in this area; they are popular topics for doctoral theses. Few authors, however, realize that a mere congruence between poll results and legislation does not imply that polls showing "the will of the people" have been a cause of the laws passed by congress or parliament. The same events in the outside world may have caused both the poll responses and the legislative response. To talk about causal links from polls to laws we need to have research on intermediate steps, if any, between polled opinions and the laws enacted by legislatures.

Opinion polls and political accords between states

The process of domestic rule by consent of the governed may seem slow and cumbersome, but compared to international political decision-making the process of making decisions within a nation-state is fast and well organized. International political issues are not settled by legislation. On the international political scene, issues are settled by treaties negotiated by diplomats who are appointed by states. A treaty between sovereign states cannot be achieved by majority rule, it requires consensus. While usually based on a negotiated compromise, a treaty is concluded by the full consensus between the parties on the content; a majority vote will not do. A treaty is negotiated behind closed doors without public transparency and debate. A treaty between states is implemented by some form of intergovernmentalism. The extent of intergovernmentalism is the best measure we have of the globalization of the body politic.

Diplomats, and ministers and bureaucrats in charge of rules for domestic fishing, may meet with colleagues from neighboring countries around a common sea. They negotiate a treaty on fishing quotas to ensure future fishing. If the treaty on fishing in an international waterway is to be supervised by the ministers in the treaty-making powers, the meetings of these fishing ministers are the intergovernmental process. If they set up a committee with staff to regularly review and report on the issues of the treaty this committee becomes the intergovernmental agency. The supervision of a treaty, if any, is thus usually handled by some ad hoc arrangement between states. Only occasionally is it entrusted to a permanent organization such as the International Atomic Energy Agency for the non-proliferation treaty of atomic weapons.

Treaty-making is the counterpart to legislation on an international level. Short of war, it is the only way we presently have to globalize the body politic. The interpretation of treaties may be facilitated by international courts. The settling of controversies over treaties may be aided by institutionalized mediation. Most international treaties, however, are unenforceable. They depend for their survival on an understanding among the signatories that it is in their own long-term national interest to stick to the treaty (cf. Blix 1960).

Treaty-making is a slow and uncertain process. This is the reason why the polity of the world cannot keep pace with the globalization of economy, science and technology, or the popular arts.

Polling on treaty-making

Public opinion research has rarely dealt with treaties. One exception is the treaties on the Panama Canal between Panama and the United States. In Panama CID-Gallup, a Central American affiliate of the Gallup Organization in Princeton, New Jersey, polled for the newspaper El Panama America. In the United States many pollsters besides Gallup had conducted surveys on the topic. They all indicated that majorities of the U.S. respondents were against turning over control of the Canal Zone to Panama.

One early poll was discredited for poor homework in writing the questionnaire; every fifth question in a 1977 survey of the Panama Treaty contained factual errors (Smith & Hogan 1987). The episode indicates that opinion research on treaty making requires extra effort on the part of both pollsters and respondents. Diplomatic issues are complicated, often inadequately published in popular media; as we noted, the give and take of negotiations are secret and thus unknown to the public.

The rejection of the Panama Canal Treaty by the public bothered Cyrus Vance, U.S. secretary of state from 1977 to 1980, under President Carter, who had been instrumental in negotiating the Treaty. Along with Daniel Yankelovich he had founded Public Agenda in 1975 and served as chairman of its board. This organization pioneered in methods to make polls useful to politicians. The researchers at Public Agenda went to a local community, took an initial poll on the Treaty and got the expected negative results, then presented local papers and associations with material on the treaty and its history, and arranged some public discussions of the pros and cons among the local citizens. At least some parts of the community became aware of the issues faced by the diplomats in the secret negotiations. A new poll at the end of the project indicated majority support of the Treaty in this community. It may be that polls on treaties are meaningful only if the public is retrospectively informed about the positions and turns in the negotiations, not only of the final outcome (Yankelovich 1991).

Polling for the negotiators to aid the treaty making process itself is rare. Like the negotiations such polls are secret. Georg Baron von Stackelberg, founder of EMNID in Germany, won some victories as a political consultant. For example, in 1955, when the long-standing issue in European politics on the future of Saarland, which had been administered by the French since the war, was negotiated between Mendes-France of France and Adenauer of West Germany, von Stackelberg provided his country with a secret weapon. What the people of Saarland wanted was a wide-open question, but in France it was generally held that they felt at home with the French and had most of their economic ties with the French. von Stackelberg quickly and confidentially organized carloads of interviewers from West Germany to check the popular preference in Saarland. At the negotiating table Adenauer could comfortably agree to a referendum. Armed with EMNID’s secret poll, he knew that such a solution would favor his country. (von Stackelberg 1975, pp 73-75.)

The work of Colin Irvin (2002) on the settling of the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland stands out as ground-breaking. He polls confidentially for both parties in peace negotiations, and the results are used to ease frozen stands and build courage to take compromise positions among the negotiators.

Very rarely do polls reach into intergovernmentalism. A paradigm of an international poll of an issue crossing national borders is The Health of the Planet Survey (Dunlap et al. 1993). It is also called the George H. Gallup Memorial Survey because it was conducted in honor of Dr Gallup who had died in 1984. Members of Gallup International donated one million dollars worth of fieldwork to its execution. But it differs from the early international Gallup polls in that it is not a scattering of topics of journalistic interest, but a broad piece of social research with the entire questionnaire devoted to one and the same public issue. This survey encompasses environmental concerns in 24 major nations, 11 classified as high-income nations by the World Bank and 13 that covered the remaining categories of medium and low-income nations. Previous opinion research on environmental issues stemmed mainly from Europe, North America and Japan and had created and supported a conception that only publics in rich and highly educated countries developed deep concerns about the environment.

The interviewing began with the classical George Gallup question before respondents were aware of the survey's particular emphasis on environmental issues "What do you think is the most important problem facing our nation today?" The publics thus define the issues, not the researchers or their sponsors. Among the industrialized nations, the percentages that volunteered environmental problems as their nation's most serious problem ranged from a low of 3 percent in Great Britain to a high of 39 percent in the Netherlands. There were no such high numbers in economically developing nations, but most of them showed more widespread concern for the environment than the British.

Another mark of quality questioning is the qualifying of public priorities by taking into account not only their appealing consequences but also other less appealing consequences and negative results. Most everybody is against war, for clean air and water, et cetera. In the Health of the Planet Survey respondents were asked whether "protecting the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of slowing down economic growth," or whether "economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." In general, the percentages choosing environmental protection exceed those choosing economic growth. Majorities prioritized environmental protection in all nations but Nigeria, India, and Turkey. There is not a major difference between the industrialized and the developing nations in emphasis on environmental protection over economic growth. The widespread assumption that residents of poor nations are willing to accept environmental degradation in return for economic growth is not supported by the survey. Overall, the researchers conclude, that citizens of the developing nations are only slightly less enthusiastic in their support for environmental protection at the expense of economic growth. Pluralities in fifteen nations (absolute majorities in seven) said that government has the primary responsibility to protect the environment. The exceptions are Poland, Korea, the Netherlands, and Finland, where the publics assigned primary responsibility for the environment to business and industry, and in Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, and Switzerland, where primary responsibility was assigned by pluralities to citizens and citizens groups.

The international character of many environmental problems was illuminated by questions on educational and technological assistance between countries. Most interesting was that majorities of citizens in both industrialized and developing nations support the establishment of an international agency to set environmental policy and with the authority to rule over national policy. Residents of the developing nations are only slightly less favorable toward such an agency than are those living in the industrialized nations. Only in Brazil did a majority reject this intergovernmentalism.

Here we see a qualification of the rule of thumb that no one wants to be ruled by strangers, everyone prefers to be ruled by their own people. The general public will accept rulings from intergovernmental bodies on issues involving the survival of the globe as we know it. There remains, however, resistance from the built-in reluctance of national governments toward international schemes that reduces their authority.

The European Union and the Eurobarometer

A lesson for Europe of the twentieth century is that its most terrible enemy is the Europeans themselves. In the worst two world wars on this globe Europeans almost brought down European civilization and order. They were rescued from themselves by the intervention by the United States in the First World War and by the Soviet Union and the United States in the Second World War. During the Cold War that divided influence over Europe, the East-Central countries and the Western European were subordinate allies by the respective superpowers. Protests against this order of Europe under two guardians were heard mostly in the West. France refused subordination to the NATO command and developed own nuclear weapons.

The development of a union by the Western part of Europe became a constructive and civilized response to a Europe of two world wars. It originated in six countries in Western Europe and spread to twelve. The Eastern and Central European countries could join after the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union. This pre-eminent postwar political process in Europe which resulted in the European Union illustrates a sophisticated intergovernmentalism. The Coal and Steel Union like its successors the EEC and the EU, was the fruit of old rules of diplomacy and treaty making, not the work of democracy. The father of the European integration process, Jean Monet, did not believe one could achieve European integration through the rules of democratic elections and parliamentary decisions. But a Treaty of Rome was within reach through the rules of diplomacy.

A Commission was appointed to implement a foreign policy agreement on European cooperation and to develop it further. If the Commission’s developmental proposals were approved by the Council of Ministers from the countries that were party to the agreement, they would become law in the countries that belonged to the Union. A special court would have jurisdiction over questions concerning the application of the law. National parliaments could not change such a law without first leaving the Union.

A "democratic deficit" was thus built into the EU from its very inception. An original Assembly of parliamentarians had only advisory functions. It was turned into a directly elected European Parliament. Eventually the European Parliament did get its milk teeth and became a partner to the Commission in framing many proposals submitted to the Council of Ministers. On balance, however, in many countries elections to the European parliament are fiascos. As a rule, turnout is low, and election campaigns are dominated by domestic issues, not EU issues. The EU itself is at the time of this writing a confederation with some federalist components.

The Eurobarometer is a contribution of the polling community to the European Union. The idea came from Jacques-René Rabier, who, in the 1960s, had done some ad hoc surveys for the European Parliament and developed a plan for a regularly repeated survey tracking the development of a "European consciousness" in its various forms. He enlisted the collaboration of Jean Stoetzel and Hélène Riffault of IFOP. At a 1973 meeting of Gallup International Association in Chênehutte-les-Tuffeaux in the Loire Valley a test was organized in nine countries. The following year the first regular survey was completed. In addition to tracking the European identity it became an omnibus survey to be used by the various Directorate-Generals of the European Commission for policy research. Among other things, the first decades of the Eurobarometer repeatedly carried Ronald Inglehart’s questions on the value shift in Europe from materialism to post-materialism. At one point they also included George Gallup’s questions on happiness. But most surveys dealt with matters of European collaboration and knowledge of and acceptance of EU institutions.

A striking fact in all Eurobarometer reports is that they never have their main focus on age or sex or education or other standard background factors. There is rarely such a thing as a "European opinion" in the sense that there is an "American opinion" in the United States. The first and main table in every Eurobarometer is the one showing results by country. The sample is the grand total of full national samples in large and small countries. It is not an efficient random sample of EU-citizens. There is a very good reason for this. Opinion formation on international issues is primarily national. The often tenuous legitimacy of intergovernmental institutions is based on opinions and decisions in the nation-states.

The present members of the European Union had for centuries been warring siblings. Now they keep the peace. This is achieved, not because of the Treaty of Rome as such, but also because the Union became in effect the much needed bilateral treaty between the competing two continental great powers of France and Germany, benefiting both. A remaining difficulty for the Union may lie in the fact that two or three big brothers may want to dominate the others.

The countries of Mercosur, South America’s answer to the European Union from 1991, have less of a shared vision and look more like squabbling siblings than do the EU members. They have, however, what the EU does not have, a commonly understood language. If they ever turn into full-fledged federal governments, the European Union and Mercosur may some day be called "market states," since they are formed around a common market, not around a nation.

Any such developments toward a federation or a super state meet with widespread resistance. The mainstreams of people in the political classes in the various nation-states have an enormous vested interest in keeping decision-making right for themselves. They tend to resent any steps toward a globalization of the body politic by treaties creating international bodies that make binding decisions valid in their own countries. Only the elites within the political classes are normally tempted to get involved in multi-state politics. They are usually joined by a few aspiring youngsters who want to bypass a slow national political career by going international.

National politicians who resent surrendering sovereignty to intergovernmental bodies can usually count on public opinion. When national publics are asked to surrender some of their sovereignty to an international body their first inclination is to vote "No." For the rule of thumb, to say it again, is that no one wants to be ruled by strangers, while everyone wants to be ruled by their own people. Thus it is not surprising that politics remains essentially national. Unfortunately, as we also noted, many issues today know no national borders: pandemics, climate change, sex trafficking, terrorism, to mention a few.

The No-votes in the 2005 referendums in France and the Netherlands on the treaty that is (misleadingly) called the European Constitution are a case in point. Politicians do rarely share the stock in trade of the pollsters: the knowledge of how questions to the public should be formulated. Pollsters know that each pre-formulated response alternative must have a precise meaning. Otherwise you do not know what the responses mean. In the 2005 French and Dutch referenda "Oui" and "Ja" had a precise meaning affirmative to adoption of the Constitutional Treaty, "Non" and "Nee" had not.

A down-to-earth question for the referendum with concrete and unambiguous alternatives would have read: "For the future of the European Union, shall we continue to use the rules in the Nice Treaty and other existing treaties, or, shall we change to the rules in the Treaty of the European Constitution?" This was the actual choice at hand. By allowing an imprecise No-response, the public could air their built-in resentment against transferring, in the past or at present or in the future, any authority to strangers. And, of course, the No-alternative would also attract any general dislike the public might harbor against their government at the time.

You may ask why the European Barometer did not report and forecast the accumulated resentments against the EU that resulted in No-majorities in France and the Netherlands. To do so the Barometer would have had to include the necessary interview questions. But the questions in the European Barometer are not chosen by outside experts or journalists, nor by the researchers in Gallup International Association that do the actual survey work. The interview questions are controlled by the Commission and geared to their practical ends. The answers in the Barometer had little chance to forecast the fate of the proposed constitution in a referendum with a technically deficient question formulated by President Jacques Chirac.

The United Nations and its intergovernmental institutions

Among all forms of treatise, peace treaties are of special interest. (Bobbitt 2002). European peace conferences – Augsburg, Westphalia, Utrecht, Vienna, and Versailles – forged the outcomes of wars not only into cease-fire and border agreements but also into constitutions. Through such treaties the princely state was created, then the kingly state, and the various territorial states, such as the imperial state and the nation-states. A decolonization treaty gave the world the multi-national state, for example of India. World War II also gave us a UN charter specifying the intergovernmental processes in the Security Council for dealing with future conflicts between governments. This has not always proven efficient. The US invasion in Iraq in 2003 was not endorsed by the Security Council. It was designed to install the first democratic constitution of an Arab-dominated land.

The United Nations has become an umbrella for a large number of intergovernmental agencies. Some of them are old and were born prior to World War I, for example, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in Bern and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva. In the period between the two world wars there was the League of Nations in Geneva but was otherwise a rather barren period for intergovernmental constructions. More of them date from the period after World War II. Here we find the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in New York, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, World Bank in Washington, World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva and over a hundred others.

Organizations such as these represent the globalized body politic in the same way as multinational corporations such as Shell, Boeing, General Electric, Siemens, Toyota, Nokia, Microsoft and many thousand others represent the globalized economy.

Virtually all multinational corporations in the international economy conduct voluminous market research. Very few of the intergovernmental organizations do public opinion research. To my knowledge, none of the UN-related organizations have a regular budget for opinion research. The World Bank has sponsored some survey research on economic issues that may be more akin to market research than opinion polling. At present only the European Union seems to do regular polling; it has a big contract for survey research, the Eurobarometer, and also a small "frame contract" for research through focus groups and in-depth interviewing in member states.

The situation for opinion research may not be much better among the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as the Red Cross, the World Council of Churches, Greenpeace. There is not, at least not yet, any significant place for opinion research among the non-commercial heavyweights in the globalized political order.

The organizations that regularly conduct international polls in 2005 are few. Of the original networks from the mid-20th century– Gallup, INRA, Roper, Harris – only two have lasted into the new century. Gallup International Association has survived but is divorced from Gallup Organization in Princeton. It runs "The Voice of the Peoples," the only international omnibus survey with an extensive coverage of nations into which clients can buy polling space. Roper’s international opinion work has also survived by joining National Opinion Poll in London as a reorganized Roper/NOP World. GlobeScan Incorporated of London and Toronto, founded 1987, is a rising firm specializing in research for multinational corporations and intergovernmental institutions and organizations. Its age-mate in the United States, The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has more occasionally branched out into international polling. Likewise, several commercial firms have the capacity to organize occasional international polls.

A few global studies have been initiated by the pollsters themselves. For example, since Dr Gallup’s days, the members of the Gallup International Association have had a tradition of donating space in their questionnaires for select international issues of interest to editors. Their global polling has usually not dealt with the central political problem of the development and function of intergovernmentalism. An exception is their polls on the standing of the United Nations in world opinion; a question first asked in 1948-49.

The main international professional association for market research, ESOMAR is at present ten times the size of WAPOR, the World Association for Public Opinion Research. The reason for the dismally small amount of significant opinion research on global political affairs is not that opinion researchers are incompetent when it comes to international surveys. The gut reason is found in the fact that economic globalization is booming while political globalization is slow or stalled. Global market research is a large and expanding enterprise, while global opinion research is a struggling, underfinanced and minor enterprise.


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