Even as the US House of Representatives approved a bill (October 14) to slash US dues to the United Nations by half, a recent national opinion poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans support US involvement in the world body.

According to a bi-partisan poll conducted the first week in October, more than eight out of ten voters (86%) said it is important that the US maintains an active role within the United Nations. More than half (65%) said it is ‘very important’ that the United States do so.

The bi-partisan poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the UN, concluded that a majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats favor their country paying its UN dues on time and in full.  Pollsters said the results reveal that despite widespread anti-UN sentiment among House Republicans, attacking the UN might not be a political winner for the Republican party after all.

The public’s opinion of the UN improves when they are asked about specific UN programs and the work of UN organizations such as the World Health Organization or UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and UN initiatives such as humanitarian aid, fighting poverty and protecting women.

The bill passed by the Republican-controlled House would make US funding of the UN ‘voluntary and conditional’ and if it became law would deal the world peacekeeping body a critical financial blow. The US currently funds 22 percent of the UN budget.

The Democratic-held Senate, however, is expected to vote against the bill and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent a letter to the Congress recommending that President Obama veto it.