Decreased support for foreign aid
The majority of the Norwegian population is in favour of foreign aid, but the proportion has decreased. Furthermore, fewer people than in previous surveys think the results of the aid are good.
A majority of the Norwegian population is in favour of foreign aid, but more people than in previous surveys want to reduce the government’s foreign aid budget. In 2013, approximately eight out of ten said they were in favour of foreign aid for Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is eight percentage points lower than in 2006, but there has been a clear majority in favour of foreign aid throughout the survey’s history. More than seven out of ten have supported development aid in all the surveys since 1972.
Slightly more than half the population think that the government’s foreign aid budget is the right size or should have been bigger, and around four in ten think it should be reduced or eliminated. This is the highest proportion that has wanted a reduction in the aid budget since Statistics Norway started asking the question in 1972. Younger respondents and respondents with higher education were most strongly in favour of foreign aid and the current size of the aid budget. Respondents were also asked which party they would vote for if an election was held tomorrow, and the people who said they would have voted for the Progress party were most critical of foreign aid. People on the political left were most positive.
Fewer people think foreign aid is effective
Just under half the population think foreign aid produces fairly good or very good results. This is a clear decrease from surveys in 2010 and 2006, when six and seven in ten felt the same. Respondents are especially critical of the results of Norway’s long-term assistance. Only three in ten think the results of this kind of aid are good, while about half the sample thinks the results of emergency aid are good. Older respondents are most critical of the results of development aid, and among people of retirement age only three out of ten think Norwegian aid produces good results.
Interest in media coverage of developing countries
About four out of ten people say they are very or quite interested in media coverage of developing countries and foreign aid. Furthermore, around half the respondents said they were somewhat interested in coverage of these topics. Interest corresponds with education level and people with higher education are most interested. Older people are also somewhat more interested than younger people.
When asked how they think the media portrays developing countries about three out of ten say they believe these countries were presented correctly by the press and about the same proportion said they are presented in a way that is too negative. Sixteen per cent thinks that they were presented too positively. Over time, there has been a decline in the proportion that believes the media portrays developing countries correctly. People who are against foreign aid most strongly believe that the portrayal of developing countries is too positive.