According to a recent poll, 92 percent of Argentine say that the country is divided – way above the global average – and the primary reason is differences in political views.
While 93 percent of Serbians feel that their country is very or fairly divided, taking the top spot among the 27 countries surveyed by Ipsos MORI, Argentina placed second overall and just ahead of Chile, where 90 percent of respondents felt society was divided.
The global average was 76 percent, with perceptions of social divisions lowest in Saudi Arabia (34 percent), China (48 percent) and Japan (52 percent).
64 percent of Argentines feel that the country is more divided today than 10 years ago, comfortably outnumbering the 14 percent who feel that it is less divided than a decade ago.
Commenting on the findings, Bobby Duffy, Managing Director, Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute said: “This study shows that people across the globe think their societies have become increasingly divided compared with ten years ago and that the greatest cause of tension is between people with different political views. But the study shows there some very different divisions around the world. Differences between immigrants and people born in the country are seen as a particular cause of tension among many Western European countries whereas tension between rich and poor is the top concern in Russia, China and Japan.”
Of the 27 countries, Argentina also ranked second to Malaysia in terms of the percentage of responded who blamed politics for the divisions. No less than 70 percent of Argentines felt that politics was the greatest source of tensions, compared to 74 percent for Malaysia, and 63 percent for Serbia, Poland and Turkey. While differences in political views were the most cited reason for tensions on average around the globe, Argentina’s 70 percent is much higher than the 44 percent average for the 27 countries in the study.
In addition, whereas 25 percent of Argentines think that people have become more tolerant in the last 10 years, 45 percent think the opposite – saying that people have becomes less tolerant.
“There has been much fuss in Argentina about the rift between supporters of the Kirchnerite administration and those who opposed it. This has not changed in the first two years of Mauricio Macri’s term in office, although he pledged to unite all Argentines during his presidential campaign.
“This global survey both confirms that people agree our society is divided, but it also shows that Argentina is not the only country facing this kind of issue” said Brenda Lynch, communications manager at Ipsos Argentina.
“If there is no consensus whatsoever, something we may all agree on in order to bridge that rift, it will be all the more difficult to produce long-term policies. Our differences in opinion should not come as a hindrance to achieve sustainable growth and institutional development. The aim is to take advantage of the political debates and come up with better proposals” said Lynch.
41 percent of Argentine respondents felt that differences between the rich and poor were responsible for tensions, and 13 percent that it was because of differences between immigrants and people born in Argentina. In comparison, respondents in Italy (61 percent), Great Britain (50 percent), France (45 percent), Germany (46 percent), cited differences between immigrants and people born in the country as a source of division.
By the same token, only 10 percent of Argentine respondents answered that mixing with people of different backgrounds, cultures or points of views causes conflicts. 21 percent think that any misunderstandings can usually be overcome and the remaining 58 percent believe that the mixing leads to mutual understanding. Similar figures were reported for Chile and Peru.
In contrast, in Hungary, Sweden, and Germany, about a third of respondents said that they felt that the mixing of different backgrounds leads to conflict.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for anyone who has hit the mean streets of Buenos Aires, only 14 percent of Argentines say that they can trust most people. That level of distrust puts Argentina in the bottom third of the trust rankings, with only South Africa (14 percent), Italy (14 percent), Chile (13 percent), South Korea (12 percent), Brazil (10 percent), Turkey (9 percent), Peru (7 percent), Malaysia (7 percent) and Serbia (7 percent) faring worse. The most trusting societies are China (61 percent saying that they trust most people), Sweden (60 percent) and Australia (41 percent).
Ipsos MORI notes that “there is, however, some optimism in the study; the majority of people (65%) think that people across the world have more things in common than things that make them different. Agreement is highest in Russia and Serbia (both 81%) but lowest in Japan (35%) and Hungary (48%) and South Korea (49%).” 70 percent of Argentines polled agreed with the statement that people have more in common than they do differences.
In total 19,428 people were interviewed between 26 January – 9 February, 2018 for the poll originally conducted for the BBC. The survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system (Argentina,Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa,South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the USA).
Approximately 500 people were surveyed in Argentina, and the sample was weighted to make it nationally representative, with an accuracy of +/- 5.0 percentage points.