New survey on Americans' foreign policy priorities

Americans favor diplomatic and economic strategies over military involvement in foreign policy, according to a new national survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Americans also question whether or not the United States should be the world's chief problem solver, even as a myriad of issues across the globe are identified as important for the next president to address. The nationwide poll of 1,167 adults collected data from June 25 to July 7 using AmeriSpeak, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Interviews were conducted online and using landlines and cell phones.

"This survey indicates that Americans are aware of the many foreign policy issues facing the country—everything from terrorism, to environmental issues, to foreign trade—but there is very little support for their country shouldering more of the responsibility to solve them all," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center.

Some of the poll's key findings include:

  • International terrorism and the Islamic State were most frequently named as one of the top issues facing the next president. More than half of those surveyed said it was extremely important to know how the next president plans to deal with these issues.
  • Only about a quarter of the public would like to see the United States take a bigger role in resolving problems around the world; most would prefer that the United States be less active or maintain its current level of involvement.
  • At the same time, large numbers support the use of military force to protect the United States from international terrorism, halt nuclear proliferation, or help defend allies under attack. However, most people oppose military action to promote democracy, defend abroad, or safeguard American interests.
  • While most Americans do not think military intervention is the right response to threats to American financial interests overseas or human rights issues in other countries, economic pressure is supported as a method to deal with these problems. The public also supports economic pressure to deal with international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and aggression against an ally.
  • Furthermore, large majorities consider diplomacy a resource to deal with all these issues: international terrorism, , defending allies, protecting economic interests abroad, and international human rights, as well as promoting democracy.

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Citation: New survey on Americans' foreign policy priorities (2015, August 14) retrieved 23 November 2020 from
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