86% of global respondents agree to quadruple-barreled question about the world after COVID-19

According to Ipsos, a significant majority of people around the world want life to be better in 2021:

Globally, 86% of all adults surveyed agree that, “I want the world to change significantly and become more sustainable and equitable rather than returning to how it was before the COVID-19 [crisis]”. More precisely, 46% strongly agree and 41% somewhat agree with that proposition, while 14% disagree (10% somewhat and 4% strongly).

Survey questions are supposed to address one issue per question. The question above is trying to get at a general question – do you want the world to be better after COVID-19 – but it adds several dimensions to this question. I count four:

  1. “change significantly”
  2. “become more sustainable”
  3. “become…more equitable”
  4. “rather than returning to how it was before the COVID-19.”

When people agree with this statement, which of these four or how many of these four are they agreeing to? One could want significant change but not care much about sustainability. Or, someone could be in favor of more equitable but not necessarily want much change.

With all of these issues conflated, the general question might be answered. Yes, citizens of the world want a better world in the future. See the summary statement within the report:

But, the question offers no insights and perhaps even muddles things more regarding which aspects of the world should be better. Do people care about equity? Sustainability? Change? A new start? This question does not help in this regard.

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