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Survey about U.S. Role in Global Health Reports That Americans Want Take Care of Problems at Home First in a Recession, But Say Don’t Cut Funding For Global Health and Development

Two-thirds of the public supports maintaining (39%) or increasing (26%) U.S. government funding to improve health in developing countries, while fewer than a quarter (23%) say the government is spending too much on global health, according to this survey of the American people’s attitudes towards U.S. global health and development assistance. Levels of support are similar for spending to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries, although the public’s sense of urgency about the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world has declined. However, perhaps not surprisingly given the current recession, the vast majority (71%) of Americans say that given today’s serious economic problems the U.S. can’t afford to spend more on global health right now.

The survey of Americans on the U.S. role in global health was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation. It was conducted January 26 through March 8, 2009 (before the international outbreak of the H1N1 influenza A virus), among a nationally representative random sample of 2,554 adults ages 18 and older. Telephone interviews conducted by landline (N=1,951) and cell phone (N=603, including 214 who had no landline telephone) were carried out in English and Spanish. The survey includes oversamples of African American and Latino respondents as well as respondents ages 18– 29. Results for all groups have been weighted to reflect their actual distribution in the nation. The margin of sampling error for the overall survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Most questions reported here were asked of a random half-sample of respondents and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

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