Diplomacy & Restraint: The Worldview of American Voters

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: In a survey of Americans on foreign policy issues, respondents favor a less militaristic foreign policy and increased foreign diplomatic engagement. These positions are not aligned with the political party of the respondents.

A plurality of voters from both major political parties believes peace can best be achieved by “keeping a focus on the domestic needs and the health of American democracy, while avoiding unnecessary intervention beyond the borders of the United States.” This response was more popular than interventionist options or even "maintaining a strong national defense."

Twice as many respondents want to reduce the military budget versus increase it. Reducing the military budget is especially favorable among young survey respondents. A plurality of respondents agreed that the most important role of the U.S. government to “maintain Constitutional rights and liberties.”

Twice as many Americans want to increase diplomatic engagement with the world compared to those who want to reduce it. A bipartisan majority of respondents said that the U.S. should negotiate directly with adversaries to try to avoid military conflict, even if adversaries violate the human rights of their populations.

More than six times as many Americans support the recent agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban. A large majority of respondents want the U.S. to rejoin the World Health Organization, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Iran nuclear deal.

A plurality of respondents want the U.S. to decrease its troop levels worldwide, while support for staying in Afghanistan has diminished significantly. The vast majority of those surveyed want to reduce the president's unilateral power to engage in military conflicts. Only a small minority think that the U.S. should intervene abroad to address human rights abuses, with most skeptical of foreign intervention and in favor of focusing these resources at home.

The belief in American exceptionalism divides based on age, with younger respondents opposing it and older respondents supporting it.

Read the full study HERE

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Support for Negotiation with Adversaries

Eurasia Group

Findings:

  • In a survey of Americans on foreign policy issues, respondents favor a less militaristic foreign policy and increased foreign diplomatic engagement. 
  • A bipartisan majority of respondents said that the U.S. should negotiate directly with adversaries to try to avoid military conflict, even if adversaries violate the human rights of their populations. 
  • These foreign policy positions are not aligned with the political party of the respondents. 
Read the full study HERE