What kind of foreign policy do Americans want?
What role do US voters want Washington to play on the global stage?
That’s the basic question posed by a new survey from the Eurasia Group Foundation, a public education nonprofit founded by Ian Bremmer that is separate from Eurasia Group, our parent company.
The Foundation surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 voting-age Americans for their opinions on US foreign policy. Here are a few of the more provocative findings that highlight differences among Americans as we move toward the 2024 presidential election.
The most important finding is that respondents who identify as Independents agree more often with Republicans than with Democrats on most foreign-policy questions included in the survey.
- Americans approved of the US response to Russia’s war in Ukraine by a margin of 43% to 26%. About a third hold a neutral opinion. But almost twice as many Democrats support America’s response to the war as Republicans or Independents.
- A clear majority of all respondents (58%) said the United States should push for a negotiated settlement in the war in Ukraine, but Democrats are much more supportive of Ukraine’s NATO ambitions than Republicans or Independents — 84% vs. 64% and 62%.
- Republicans and Independents are about twice as likely as Democrats to list a potential war with China among the top three threats facing the US — 37% and 33% vs. 18%. It’s ranked in the top two threats among Republicans and in the bottom two among Democrats.
- Republicans (33%-23%) and Independents (37%-32%) are more likely to want to decrease US engagement in organizations like the UN or NATO. Democrats (37% to 9%) are four times as likely to want to increase it.
There is one area where Independents fall between those aligned with the two big parties.
The priority national security topics for Democrats are human rights and climate change. For Republicans, it’s immigration and defense policy. For Independents, it’s immigration and human rights.
There are two major questions where Independents aligned more closely with Democrats.
- Twice as many Independents and Democrats support a decrease in the defense budget, rather than an increase. Republicans are about evenly split.
- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all tilt toward intervention in a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan — but Republicans are 40% more likely than Democrats or Independents to “strongly support” a military operation.
There are also several differences in foreign-policy views between racial and age groups in the report. The full document is worth a read.