London: Most people around the world support significantly increasing government spending to counter the economic crisis, according to a 20-nation opinion poll released on Monday.
The findings will bring solace to leaders such as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who have backed multi-billion-dollar stimulus programmes to try to lift their economies out of recession.
G20 finance leaders agreed this month they would not remove emergency stimulus until the recovery was well entrenched.
The survey of more than 22,000 people in 20 countries for the BBC World Service found that, on average, 60% favoured “significantly increasing government spending to stimulate the economy”.
Support for government stimulus of the economy was highest in Nigeria (87% support), Egypt (83%), and Russia (81%). Support was much lower in France (39%) and Germany (42%).
In Britain, 60% favoured significantly increasing government spending to stimulate the economy.),
Americans were divided on the question, with 48% in favour and 48% against.
“People around the world are looking for a dynamic approach to the economic crisis,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland in the United States, which conducted the survey with Canadian polling firm GlobeScan.
The poll found that support was especially strong for investments in renewable energy and green technology (72%) and for giving financial support to major industries and companies in trouble (62%).
Backing For More Regulation
However, only a slight majority (51%) supported giving financial support to banks in trouble.
In the United States, majorities opposed giving financial support to troubled banks (63% against) or industries (55% against).
Two-thirds of those polled wanted to see an increase in government regulation and oversight of their economies.
Just under half (49%) supported giving international institutions more power to regulate the global economy.
The US government’s efforts to address the crisis, which have included far-reaching measures to stimulate the US economy, were relatively well received around the world.
Nearly half (46%) of all respondents said they were satisfied with what the United States has been doing, compared with 39% who were dissatisfied.
By contrast, 44% on average were satisfied with their own government’s response.
Satisfaction with their own government’s response ranged from 68% in Australia, 63% in Egypt and 59% in Brazil to 27% in France, 18% in Japan and just 9% in Mexico.
Americans were evenly split between those happy and those unhappy with their government’s response %.
“It is clear that citizens in many countries are still not seeing the kind of economic leadership they think is needed from their national government,” GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller said.
The poll found low public confidence in executives of major banks – an average of just 32% were satisfied with what they were doing to address the crisis. Many people are angry over high rewards enjoyed by bankers, blaming bonuses for excessive risk-taking that contributed to last year’s market crisis.
In total, 22,158 people in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Britain and the United States were polled between 19 June and 17 August.
Global poll sees support for spending stimulus