NPR logo NPR/Ipsos Poll: What Do Americans Know About Foreign Policy?

NPR/Ipsos Poll: What Do Americans Know About Foreign Policy?

Plus Opinions on Trump's 'America First' Ideology

Washington D.C. –As President Donald Trump embarks on his first international trip as commander-in-chief, it's a good time to ask: what do Americans know about foreign policy, and how have they received Trump's 'America First' ideology?

In the third part of a series called, "What Do You Know?" a new NPR/Ipsos poll seeks to reveal what Americans know and believe about U.S. foreign policy.

While there are widely differing views of foreign policy, new data suggests that many Americans do not agree with some of the tenets of Trump's 'America First' agenda. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats want the U.S. to continue its robust engagement with the rest of the world. More than half the people surveyed in a new NPR/Ipsos poll say America's foreign policy should focus on maintaining the current global order — with the U.S. at the center. Less than a quarter said the country's foreign policy should look out for Americans, even if it harms people in other countries.

"Overall, Americans believe the U.S. should be and is a force for good in the world," said pollster Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs. "Democrats see the role of the U.S. in the world in more aspirational terms," Young said. "Republicans see it much more in transactional terms."

The survey also found that many respondents lacked specific knowledge of U.S. foreign affairs. Many incorrectly assumed that American defense aid to Israel declined under the Obama administration (39%). Only 15% correctly estimated that the US pays 22% of the United Nations regular budget. A similarly small group knew that U.S. foreign aid to Egypt is higher than the U.S. dues for NATO administration in 2016 (18%).

Key Findings:

The United States is the moral leader of the world

  • 60% overall agree
  • 73% of Republicans agree
  • 64% of Democrats agree
  • 47% of Independents agree

American foreign policy should look out for Americans, even if it harms people in other countries.

  • 24% overall agree
  • 21% of Democrats agree
  • 35% of Republicans agree
  • 23% of Independents agree

American foreign policy should be focused on maintaining the current global order with the U.S. at the center.

  • 55% overall agree
  • 66% of Democrats agree
  • 50% of Republicans agree
  • 53% of Independents agree

The United States should not hesitate to use its military power.

  • 49% overall agree
  • 40% of Democrats agree
  • 69% of Republicans agree
  • 41% of Independents agree

America should provide humanitarian aid to foreign countries.

  • 70% overall agree
  • 83% of Democrats agree
  • 60% of Republicans agree
  • 67% of Independents agree


Read NPR's full report here: www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528802896/npr-ipsos-poll-americans-arent-so-hot-on-america-first

About NPR
NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans everyday—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. More information at npr.org/aboutnpr and following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Ipsos
Ipsos Group S.A. is a global market research and a consulting firm with worldwide headquarters in Paris, France. The company was founded in 1975 by Didier Truchot, Chairman and CEO, and has been publicly traded on the Paris Stock Exchange since July, 1999.

Contact:

Ben Fishel, NPR Media Relations
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org