Survey suggests cost of living and climate are higher global priorities than Ukraine war


The cost of living is ranked by most voters globally as a more important issue than liberating Ukraine from Russian occupation, but there is still strong support for a Russian military withdrawal, according to a survey showing global preoccupations.

The polling was conducted by Datapraxis and YouGov by the Open Society Foundations, a group funded by the businessman and philanthropist George Soros, and has been released ahead of the UN general assembly later this month in New York.

Majorities in 16 of the 22 largest countries believe Russia should leave the territory it has occupied in Ukraine, the survey shows. The polling in 22 countries of more than 21,000 citizens also underlines the extent to which the global south is less engaged with the war in Ukraine than Europeans.

Asked to list their top-three priority issues, voters more often cited the climate crisis and cost of living ahead of Ukraine. Even in the UK, the country with some of the most solid support for Ukraine, more voters cite climate change.

The climate emergency was the top priority, with 36% of respondents ranking it as one of the three most significant issues facing the world, compared with 28% who picked Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In all but three of the countries surveyed, fewer than 40% cited Ukraine as a top-three priority issue.

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It will be examined closely by world leaders for signs of any fracture in support for the war in Ukraine in view of rising inflation and energy prices. Although the survey clearly shows Ukraine is globally viewed as less important than the climate crisis and the cost of living, Russia can take little solace from the poll. 

For instance, there was also a strong plurality (49%) supporting the statement “war crimes are mostly being committed by Russia”, compared with 28% supporting the view that “war crimes are being committed by both sides”.

(with inputs from agencies)

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