Apr. 29, 2013

Modest Support for Military Force if Syria Used Chemical Weapons

By a 45% to 31% margin, more Americans favor than oppose the U.S. and its allies taking military action against Syria, if it is confirmed that Syria used chemical weapons against anti-government groups. Public interest in the Syrian conflict remains low, and nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) have no opinion about the use […]

Mar. 19, 2013

Public Remains Supportive of Israel, Wary of Iran

As Barack Obama arrives in the Middle East this week, the sympathies of the American public remain firmly with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians. And when it comes to Iran, the public continues to say it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons than to avoid a military conflict. […]

Feb. 11, 2013

Continued Support for U.S. Drone Strikes

While U.S. drone strikes have faced new scrutiny in recent weeks, a majority of the public continues to support the program. Overall, 56% approve of the U.S. conducting missile strikes from pilotless aircraft to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; just 26% say they disapprove. Opinion is largely unchanged from […]

Jan. 24, 2013

Deficit Reduction Rises on Public’s Agenda for Obama’s Second Term

When Barack Obama took office four years ago, reducing the budget deficit was a middle-tier item on the public’s agenda. Only about half of Americans (53%) viewed it as a top policy priority in January 2009, placing it ninth on a list of 20 policy goals. But as Obama begins his second term, only […]

Jan. 8, 2013

As Hagel Fight Begins, Wide Partisan Differences in Support for Israel

For decades, the public has sympathized more with Israel than the Palestinians in the Middle East conflict. However, the partisan gap in sympathies, while little changed in recent years, is as large as it has been in more than three decades of polling. Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore […]

Dec. 14, 2012

Public Says U.S. Does Not Have Responsibility to Act in Syria

As fighting in Syria rages on between government forces and anti-government groups, the public continues to say that the U.S. does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting there. And there continues to be substantial opposition to sending arms to anti-government forces in Syria. The latest national survey by the Pew […]

Oct. 24, 2012

Storify: Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

[View the story “The Foreign Policy Debate: Pew Research Findings on Public Opinion” on Storify]

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 […]