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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monitoring Global Unrest and its Undercurrents

By Gallup Deputy Managing Editor Elizabeth Mendes

The latest edition of The Economist featured a cover story -- "The March of Protest" -- stating that "A wave of anger is sweeping the cities of the world." As the article notes, the globe's most recent wave of protests have been unfolding in Brazil, Turkey, and Bulgaria.

And now Egyptians are again taking to the streets.

The core theme of The Economist article is that, though the origins of the protests in each country differ, "the demonstrators have much in common."

Gallup's global data tends to support this overarching argument. What Gallup finds in essentially every country where residents are rising up is all or some combination of the following factors: declining leadership approval, growing pessimism about the job market, increasing frustration with corruption, and devolving satisfaction with societal basics -- like education and infrastructure.

For example, the percentage of Brazilians who say corruption is widespread throughout their government rose to 70% in 2012. In Turkey, residents of Istanbul -- where protests broke out in June -- were much less likely to approve of the job performance of the country's leadership in 2012 (30%) than in 2011 (59%). And in Europe, which has seen massive protests against austerity, 75% of residents say it is a bad time to find a job -- the highest percentage in the world.

These essential elements of a thriving country are all part of The Gallup Macroeconomic Path, a leadership model for successful societies.

Leaders in these countries -- and others facing widespread discontent -- should pay close attention to these metrics from Gallup in order to gauge what their citizens want and need -- and to monitor their frustrations.

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