People have little faith in politicians: survey

New York, Jan 17 | Updated: Jan 18 2006, 06:07am hrs
People worldwide have little faith in political leaders who, they believe, are dishonest, have too much power and are too easily influenced, according to a new survey.

The survey conducted by Gallup International, which makes a grim reading of politicians, was released just ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos where more than 2,200 leaders from business, politics and civil society will discuss the create imperatives.The poll, which was conducted among 50,000 people in over 60 countries with a combined population of two billions also finds that business leaders are widely held in better esteem than their political counterparts whose credibility appears to be declining.

Significant proportions still criticise both sets of leaders on different criteria, with dishonesty being heavily associated with political leaders.

Criticism of business leaders is mainly concentrated on two aspects: they respond to pressure from people more powerful than they are, and they have too much power and responsibility.

Commenting on the survey findings, Klaus Schwab, executive chairman and founder of the World Economic Forum, said: as the World Economic Forum prepares to meet for its annual meeting in Davos - the leaders present can hardly ignore such a comprehensive worldwide survey.

The meeting is being held under the theme the creative imperative and it is clear that leaders must creatively address their collective shortcomings if we are to restore faith in global leadership, he said.

Opinions about whether the next generation will live in a safer world are mixed - one-third (35%) think the world will either be a lot or a little safer but only a slightly lower proportion (30%) feel that it will be a lot or a little less safe.

Regionally, western Europe is the most pessimistic region in the world about future prospects for safety - two-thirds (67%) in this region feel the next generation will live in a less safe world (either a lot less safe or a little less safe) while only just over one in ten (11%) feel the world will be a lot or a little safer for the next generation.The Americas are the next most pessimistic region with over half (54%) also supporting the view that the world will be a less safe place for future generations, while less than one in five (19%) felt that the world would be a safer place.

Interestingly, half of the Americans interviewed (51%) also held the view that the world would be a less safe place for future generations with one in five (20%) maintaining the opposite view that the world would be either a lot or a little safer.More than four out of ten respondents globally (43%) indicated that the next generation will live in a lot or little more economically prosperous world than now, while one-third (30%) felt it would be a lot or a little less prosperous for future generation.

PTI