Oct. 18, 2012

On Eve of Foreign Debate, Growing Pessimism about Arab Spring Aftermath

As next week’s third and final presidential debate on foreign policy approaches, a national survey by the Pew Research Center finds increasing public pessimism about developments in the Middle East and more support for tough policies to deal with Iran’s nuclear program and economic issues with China. However, there is no change in the […]

Sep. 17, 2012

Middle East Turmoil Closely Followed; Romney’s Comments Viewed Negatively

About four-in-ten Americans (43%) have followed news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and the killing of an American ambassador very closely, making it by far the most closely followed foreign news story of the year. Those who have followed this story have much more positive opinions about Barack Obama’s […]

Jul. 24, 2012

Romney’s Overseas Trip a Chance to Burnish Foreign Policy Credentials

Mitt Romney’s trip to Europe and Israel this week highlights a potential weakness of his candidacy. The former Massachusetts governor trails Barack Obama by eight points among registered voters as the candidate best able to handle foreign policy and 12 points as best able to defend against terrorist attacks, according to the Pew Research Center’s […]

Jun. 4, 2012

Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years

As Americans head to the polls this November, their values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years. Unlike in 1987, when this series of surveys began, the values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than gender, age, race or class divides. […]

Apr. 18, 2012

Most Swing Voters Favor Afghan Troop Withdrawal

Public support for maintaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan has reached a new low. And as the general election campaign begins, swing voters, by nearly two-to-one, favor removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of voters who say they are certain to support Barack Obama in the general election favor […]

Mar. 15, 2012

Little Support for U.S. Intervention in Syrian Conflict

There is strong public sentiment against the United States intervening in the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the conflict in Syria. Similar percentages oppose the U.S. and its allies bombing Syrian military forces to […]

Mar. 15, 2012

The Viral Kony 2012 Video

Feb. 15, 2012

Public Takes Strong Stance Against Iran’s Nuclear Program

The public supports tough measures – including the possible use of military force – to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Just 30% say it is more important to avoid a military […]

Jan. 23, 2012

Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping

As the 2012 State of the Union approaches, the public continues to give the highest priority to economic issues. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 […]

Nov. 17, 2011

Obama Job Approval Improves, GOP Contest Remains Fluid

With much of the recent political focus on the ever-changing Republican presidential nomination race, Barack Obama’s job rating has improved modestly over the past month. And a majority of Americans continue to hold a favorable personal opinion of Obama. This is not the case for his main GOP rivals, whom he mostly bests in […]

Nov. 3, 2011

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006. The latest […]

Oct. 7, 2011

Strong on Defense and Israel, Tough on China

The Tea Party has emerged as a political force on domestic issues, especially the national debt and the size and role of the federal government. Republican supporters of the Tea Party movement also have a distinct approach to national security and America’s role in the world. Tea Party Republicans favor an assertive foreign policy, are […]

Sep. 20, 2011

Palestinian Statehood: Mixed Views, Low Visibility

Americans express mixed opinions about a possible independent Palestinian state, an issue that has so far drawn little attention from the press or the public. More favor (42%) than oppose (26%) the United States recognizing Palestine as an independent nation, while nearly a third (32%) express no opinion. Yet the public’s sympathies in the Middle […]

Sep. 8, 2011

Libya: Steady Views, Declining Interest

Despite the apparent success of NATO-supported rebel troops, public views about the decision to conduct air strikes in Libya remain mixed and have changed little since the U.S. and allies launched military operations there in late March. Over the same period, public attentiveness to the events in Libya has declined substantially – even as […]

Sep. 1, 2011

United in Remembrance, Divided over Policies

Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the events of that day retain a powerful hold on the public’s collective consciousness. Virtually every American remembers what they were doing at the moment the attacks occurred. Substantial majorities say that 9/11 had a profound personal impact and that the attacks changed the […]

Jun. 27, 2011

Little Change in Views of Obama’s Approach for Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

Following Barack Obama’s June 22 speech about the Afghanistan war, there has been little change in public opinion about the president’s plans for drawing down the number of U.S. combat troops in that country. As in early March, a plurality (44%) says they think Obama will remove troops at about the right pace. About three-in-ten […]

Jun. 21, 2011

Record Number Favors Removing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

As President Obama prepares to announce his policy for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the percentage of Americans who favor removing the troops as soon as possible has reached an all-time high in Pew Research Center surveys. For the first time, a majority (56%) says that U.S. troops should be brought home as […]

Jun. 16, 2011

In Shift from Bush Era, More Conservatives Say “Come Home, America”

In their first major presidential debate June 13, the Republican candidates sketched out a cautious approach to U.S. global engagement that would represent a departure from the policies of the Bush administration. Yet their ideas are very much in tune with the evolving views of the GOP base. In the Pew Research Center’s political typology […]

Jun. 10, 2011

Views of Middle East Unchanged by Recent Events

Major events in the Middle East –including tensions between the U.S. and Israel, growing political unrest in many Arab countries, and the death of Osama bin Laden – have had little effect on public attitudes toward the region. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, far more Americans continue to say they sympathize with Israel rather than […]

May. 4, 2011

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number […]