World becoming more dangerous

A staggering 84% of respondents globally believe that the world became more dangerous in the past year, according to a recent IPSOS poll.  IPSOS conducted the survey across 30 countries from September 22 to October 6, 2023, just before the Israel-Hamas war erupted on October 7, 2023.

The survey, commissioned by the Halifax Security Forum, sheds light on evolving sentiments regarding global security.

As the invasion of Ukraine approaches its two-year anniversary in February 2024, Ipsos’ annual polling on the Global Advisor online platform indicates a slight easing in the perception that the world is more dangerous in most countries, following a record high of 85% in 2022. Notably, Turkey experienced a significant increase, rising 10 points to 86%, while the United States saw a modest decrease of four points to 84%, and Canada remained steady at 86%.

POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER WORLD WAR

The majority of respondents, 70%, still anticipate the possibility of another world conflict involving superpowers like World Wars I & II in the next 25 years. India stands out with a significant increase of three points to 82%. Concerns about a world conflict eased slightly among Canadians (-1 point to 75%) and remained unchanged among Americans (76%).

nuclear, biological, or chemical attack

The fear of a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack globally dropped by four points to 71% in 2023, following a surge of nine percentage points in 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine. However, other safety concerns increased slightly, with the perceived threat of terrorist attacks rising by two points to 62%, personal safety/security violations increasing by two points to 63%, and concerns about ethnic conflicts in one’s own country rising by one point to 60%.

Less than half of the respondents express confidence in their government’s ability to respond to various security threats, including terrorist attacks, violent conflicts between ethnic groups, armed conflict with another country, and nuclear attacks.

ARMED CONFLICT

The perception of the threat of armed conflict with another country is real for 49% of respondents, with notable worries in Thailand (79%), the U.S. (77%), and Turkey (74%). Over 60% believe that the war in Ukraine poses a significant threat to their country, with varying levels of concern across different nations surveyed.

Chinese-led conflict in Asia

While concerns about a Chinese-led conflict in Asia have eased in some countries, almost seven in ten respondents (69%) agree with the statement “I fear that in the next year or so China could take similar actions in Asia that Russia has taken in Ukraine.” The majority in all surveyed countries express worry about this possibility, emphasizing the global nature of security concerns.

The Ipsos poll underscores the complex and evolving perceptions of global security, urging policymakers to consider these findings for evidence-based decision-making.

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