By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.
Nations periodically have “change” elections. The outcome of the 1980 U.S. presidential contest, in which Ronald Reagan trounced then President Jimmy Carter, was attributable to many factors. But at the end of the day, Americans just wanted a change.
India may be heading for a similar such election when the public goes to the polls later this spring to elect a new parliament and government.
A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that seven-in-ten Indians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country today. And, by a margin of more than three-to-one, they would prefer the right-of-center, Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lead the next Indian government, rather than the current governing coalition led by the left-of-center Indian National Congress party.
Of course, much can happen between now and election day. But the Indian public is clearly disgruntled and seems to be ready to embrace someone new.
By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is the director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.
In the debate over whether the United States and one or more of its NATO allies should launch a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over its alleged use of chemical weapons, much has been made of the need for multilateral sanction for such an effort, either by the U.N. Security Council or NATO.
One rationale for seeking multilateral backing is a legal one. The U.N. charter preempts the use of military force except in self-defense or with Security Council approval. But there is precedent for a military strike without U.N. authorization. In 1999 the U.S. and its NATO allies bombed Serbia for 78 days in an ultimately successful effort to force the government of Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw from Kosovo. And in 1998, Washington launched missile strikes against al Qaeda targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. Neither action had the blessing of the Security Council.
A second rationale is to provide multilateral political cover for what would be effectively largely a unilateral military action by the United States. However, public opinion data suggest that such cover may be quite thin. Only in Europe is there widespread support for the principle of obtaining U.N. authorization before taking action to deal with international threats. And public faith in NATO among its members is waning.
Newt Gingrich has all but erased Mitt Romney's 23-percentage-point lead of a week ago among Republican voters nationally, and the two candidates are now essentially tied, at 29% for Romney and 28% for Gingrich. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have significantly lower levels of support, at 13% and 11%, respectively.
Romney held a 23-point lead over Gingrich as recently as Jan. 11-15. Thus, in a matter of one week, Republicans who are registered to vote have shifted their support substantially - with Romney dropping 8 points and Gingrich gaining 14 points. The latest Gallup tracking update covers Jan. 18-22, encompassing Gingrich's come-from-behind 12-point victory over Romney in Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary. Gingrich began to gain on Romney well before Saturday's vote, however, most likely reflecting his performance in the two nationally televised debates held in South Carolina last Monday and Thursday. FULL POST