Poll: Americans Oppose Foreign Engagements by Large Margins

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 08:30 AM

By Melanie Batley

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As conflicts escalate in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Americans are "profoundly wary" of getting entangled in conflicts overseas, and a significant majority believe American military actions should be limited to cases of direct threats to our national security, a new poll has found.

In a Politico poll conducted July 3-13 of 834 likely voters in competitive House and Senate races, just 17 percent thought the United States should do more to challenge Russian aggression in Ukraine, and 34 percent said the United States should be less involved. The poll was conducted before Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down, which is now believed to have been led by Russia-backed separatists.

The survey also found that more than 75 percent of voters support President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, compared to just 23 percent who oppose it.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of likely voters support less involvement in Iraq's civil war, compared to 19 percent who said they favor more involvement, while 23 percent agree with the current level of engagement. Just over half of respondents, or 51 percent, think the situation in Iraq affects U.S. national security "a little" or "not at all," while 42 percent said it affects American national security "a lot."

Americans also prefer less involvement in Syria's civil war, with 42 percent in favor compared to 15 percent who oppose. Twenty-six percent say they are satisfied with the current, limited level of engagement, the survey found.

Additionally, the poll found that the public trusts Republicans more than Democrats on foreign policy issues at 39 percent compared to 32 percent, respectively. Twenty-eight percent said they were unsure which party to trust.

"The picture that emerges from the survey is consistent across issues of foreign policy and national security: Americans are profoundly wary of getting entangled overseas and seem to be skeptical of the value of projecting U.S. power on foreign conflicts," Politico said.

"In the big picture, two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that U.S. military actions should be 'limited to direct threats to our national security.' Only 22 percent agreed with the statement that as a 'moral leader,' the United States 'has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe'."

Politico added that while voters appear to have strong opinions on foreign policy and national security, it is unclear to what degree their opinions on those issues will impact their voting decisions in the 2014 elections.

Specifically, 89 percent of respondents said that foreign policy would be an important factor in deciding their vote, but just 11 percent named foreign affairs or national security as the issue that would matter most, Politico reported.


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