Welcome to the latest international edition of the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute’s Understanding Society.
In this issue, we concentrate on the power of public opinion across the world. We believe that a sophisticated understanding of public opinion should be crucial for anyone with an interest in public affairs, not just because public opinion is an important tool to improve policy-making and service provision but because it is a powerful force in its own right.
To set all this in context, we are delighted to have an interview with Tony Blair
, the Quartet Representative to the Middle East and former British Prime Minister, himself a firm advocate of using high quality public opinion research to put the citizen at the centre of public life. In a wide-ranging conversation, he discusses the impact of globalisation and how he sees the world changing in the future.
In the rest of this report, we examine the power of public opinion around the world in many ways:
- The economy – how public confidence has fractured around the world since the 2008 economic crisis and what it might mean for the future.
- The role public opinion has played in the Arab Spring, and its importance in regime instability in non-democratic societies.
- The results of a very large scale survey in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which went through its own regime change 20 years ago, that highlight that transition is a long and hard process but that many still have hope for the future.
- What can be learnt from Brazil’s referendum on the public sale of firearms, and the best use of arguments to persuade public opinion.
- The link between public opinion and the hot topic of behaviour change - how acceptable are different measures of ‘nudge’ and ‘shove’?
At the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute, we remain committed to sharing messages from our research, in the belief that a better understanding of public opinion will lead to a better world. We hope you enjoy the report, and if you would like to discuss any of the issues it raises, then please get in touch.