Here’s an interesting pair of polls that, put side-by-side, paint a revealing and somewhat surprising portrait of both Russians and Americans.
Gallup reported the other day that a record percentage of Russians (20 percent) would like to leave Russia for some other country. This is especially true among young people.
But before you start feeling smug: Earlier this year Gallup found that a similar record number of Americans (16 percent) also would like to leave their homeland.
Not for Russia, of course. Top preferred destination for would-be American emigrants is Canada (and not just because of the beer).
A driving force for both nationalities to leave their country is – wait for it – dislike of their sitting president, for Americans Donald Trump and for Russians Vladimir Putin.
Of course, nowhere near that many people in either country will actually depart for various reasons. Russia is already experiencing a demographic crisis with the population declining last year for the first time in a decade.
And things are getting worse. In 2014, 14 percent of working-age Russians 15 to 29 expressed a desire to leave. Today, that percentage has soared to nearly half (44 percent), unprecedented in the last decade.
Percentages in other age groups also tripled from seven to 22 percent in the 30 to 45 age grouping and three to nine percent those aged 46 to 60.
Gallup’s findings show that Putin’s job approval plays a big role in life dissatisfaction and desire to leave. “In 2018,” Gallup reported, “12 percent of adults who approve of Putin’s job performance would like to migrate, while 40 percent of those who do not approve of Putin would like to migrate.”
The 16 percent of Americans who professed a desire to leave the United States in 2017 and 2018 is larger than the numbers who expressed the same desire during the Obama administration (10 percent) and George W. Bush years (11 percent), Gallup reported.
This is particularly obvious among those opposed to President Trump, especially younger women, 20 percent of whom expressed a desire to move permanently.
The equivalent desire among men was only 13 percent.
In a related survey earlier this year, Americans expressing an unfavorable opinion of Russia edged upwards to a record 73 percent.
It appears the message has sunk in seven years after Gov. Mitt Romney said Russia was the chief strategic U.S. foe. Romney made the statement in a debate with Obama, who mocked him.
Interestingly, earlier Gallup studies found the desire to migrate growing globally from 13 percent in 2010 to 15 percent more recently. If they followed through, that would mean a mass migration of ,more than 750 million people.