June 16, 2017 | By Craig Kafura

Farewell, Helmut Kohl

By Craig Kafura and Karen Whisler

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has passed away at the age of 87. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ long-running public opinion survey asked how Americans felt about Kohl during his term in 1982, 1986, and again in 1990. In a 0-100 ‘thermometer’ scale Americans were fairly neutral with regard to Kohl, ranking him with a median score in the 50’s. This put him in line with leaders such as Nelson Mandela and French President Francois Mitterrand, above European Commission president Jacques Delors and former US President Richard Nixon, and below figures like UK PM Margaret Thatcher, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, and then-President George H. W. Bush. 

Yet Kohl’s West Germany—and after 1990, Germany—were consistently warmly regarded by Americans, both during and following his tenure as Chancellor. 

Though Kohl left politics in 2002, his political legacy lives on. Kohl's 1994 cabinet included as minister for the environment and nuclear safety one Dr. Angela Merkel, who now has had a run of political success nearly as long as Kohl’s, serving as Chancellor since 2005. If she wins reelection to her fourth term this fall, she would have the potential to surpass Kohl as the longest-tenured Chancellor in modern German history. 

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

Archive

| By Dina Smeltz, Sara McElmurry

Climate Change, Community Hot in Luring Latino Votes

Moving into the 2016 campaign season, savvy politicians are recognizing that Latinos are a growing and complex political force and will work to earn their favor at the voting booth. As politicians in Chicago and beyond look to woo this influential voting bloc, recent surveys have pointed to what could be unlikely talking points for future campaigns:  climate change and community. 



| By Sara McElmurry

Executive Action is Here—Time for a New “Start” on Legislative Reform

Following President Obama’s much-anticipated announcement on executive action on immigration, we turn our attention to the continued need for long-term legislative reform from Congress. While leaders argue we should “start with border security,” here’s what Chicago Council Survey polling tells us about the public’s appetite for immigration enforcement provisions.

| By Craig Kafura

Executive Action: Immigration Policy and Politics

Americans' perception of large numbers of immigrants and refugees coming into the US as a critical threat and the priority they place on controlling and reducing illegal immigration have both declined substantially over the last two decades. What does that mean for the public's reception of executive action for undocumented immigrants?


| By Dina Smeltz

A Second Look at US-Canada Relations

A recent Globe and Mail article referenced new survey data from Nanos Research/UB Survey characterizing a relationship “adrift” between Americans and Canadians. But a closer look at these and other polling numbers show that it’s not so much that Canadians and Americans are losing interest in cooperating. Rather, it appears that publics in both countries are feeling less threatened by security risks and are therefore less likely to support actions that focus on security and terrorism.






| By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Americans Support Use of Force Against Terrorism

As President Obama prepares to address the nation regarding the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Chicago Council Survey results from May 2014 show Americans remain concerned about the threat of international terrorism, though less intensely now than in the past.