PublicationsMay 5, 2016

Public Uncertain, Divided Over America’s Place in the World

The public views America’s role in the world with considerable apprehension and concern. In fact, most Americans say it would be better if the U.S. just dealt with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can.

PublicationsMay 27, 2015

Free Trade Agreements Seen as Good for U.S., But Concerns Persist

As Congress considers a major new trade pact with Asia, there is broad public agreement that international free trade agreements are good for the United States. But fewer Americans express positive views of the impact of trade deals on their personal finances.

InteractivesDecember 3, 2013

Video: Americans Grow More Pessimistic about U.S. Role in World Affairs

Highlights from the report: Public Sees U.S. Power Declining as Support for Global Engagement Slips. For the first time in nearly a half century of polling – a majority agrees that the United States should mind its own business internationally.

Multi-section ReportsDecember 3, 2013

Public Sees U.S. Power Declining as Support for Global Engagement Slips

Growing numbers of Americans believe that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline. And support for U.S. global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further. The public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and […]

PublicationsJanuary 12, 2011

Strengthen Ties with China, But Get Tough on Trade

As President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, Americans increasingly see Asia as the region of the world that is most important to the United States. Nearly half (47%) say Asia is most important, compared with just 37% who say Europe, home to many of America’s closest traditional allies. Views […]

Multi-section ReportsDecember 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

PublicationsApril 28, 2009

Support for Free Trade Recovers Despite Recession

Despite the economic recession, public support for free trade agreements has recovered after declining a year ago. Currently, 44% say that free trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago. Slightly more than a third (35%) say that such […]

PublicationsJuly 5, 2007

British Car Bombs Top News Interest

Summary of Findings Dramatic events in London and Scotland last week attracted a large news audience. Roughly a third of the public paid very close attention to news that British police had found and defused two car bombs in London, and another 31% followed the story fairly closely. Fully 21% said this was the single […]

CommentaryJanuary 4, 2007

The Complicated Politics of Free Trade

Crafting effective U.S. trade policies in an era of rapid economic globalization is tough. But the politics of free trade are even tougher — particularly for Democrats, according to a recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Read the full analysis at

PublicationsDecember 19, 2006

Free Trade Agreements Get a Mixed Review

Summary of Findings The American public continues to have a mixed opinion about free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO. On balance they are seen as a good thing for the country, but Americans are divided over the impact of free trade agreements on their own personal financial situations. About as many people […]

Multi-section ReportsAugust 18, 2004

Foreign Policy Attitudes Now Driven by 9/11 and Iraq

For the first time since the Vietnam era, foreign affairs and national security issues are looming larger than economic concerns in a presidential election. The Sept. 11 attacks and the two wars that followed not only have raised the stakes for voters as they consider their choice for president, but also have created deep […]