Record Number Favors Removing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan
For the first time, a majority (56%) says that U.S. troops should be brought home as soon as possible, while 39% favor keeping troops in Afghanistan until the situation has stabilized.
In Shift from Bush Era, More Conservatives Say “Come Home, America”
The proportion of conservative Republicans supporting U.S. activism in world affairs has fallen substantially since 2004 — a shift that is part of a broader blurring of partisan differences in opinions about America’s role in the world. Still, Republicans remain more supportive than Democrats and independents of the war in Afghanistan.
Views of Middle East Unchanged by Recent Events
The American public continues to express reservations about the U.S. taking an active role in the world, and casts a wary eye on the turmoil sweeping the Middle East. Far more continue to say they sympathize with Israel rather than the Palestinians, and a plurality says President Obama is striking the right balance with the situation.
Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology
Political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum. Yet at the same time, the growing center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. As an in-depth guide to the political landscape, the 2011 Political Typology sorts Americans into cohesive groups based on their values, political beliefs and party affiliation.
More Optimism about Afghanistan, But No Boost in Support for Troop Presence
The killing of Osama bin Laden has bolstered confidence that the government can prevent a possible terrorist attack, and that the U.S. will achieve its goals in Afghanistan. But an overnight Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds the public remains divided about keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Fewer See Clear Goal in Libya; Opposition to Arming Rebels
While half say the U.S. made the right decision in conducting airstrikes in Libya, fewer see a clear goal than did so last week. Americans believe preventing terrorism and keeping oil prices low should be important goals of the U.S. in the Middle East, but there is less consensus on encouraging democracy and protecting Israel.
Modest Support for Libya Airstrikes, No Clear Goal Seen
Nearly half of Americans say the U.S. made the right decision in conducting air strikes in Libya, while 36% say it was the wrong decision. On balance, however, the public does not think that the U.S. and its allies have a clear goal in taking military action and most see a lengthy involvement in Libya.
Public Wary of Military Intervention in Libya
By a wide margin, Americans say the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting between government forces and anti-government groups in Libya. Divided support for a no-fly zone is undercut by overwhelming opposition to bombing Libyan military air defenses.
Public Uncertain About Effect of Egypt Protests on U.S.
Americans do not have a clear point of view on how the massive anti-government protests in Egypt will affect the U.S., but most give Obama good marks for his handling of the situation. Half the country has heard a lot about the events in the Middle East, while half have heard little or nothing.
Historically, Public Has Given Low Priority to Promoting Democracy Overseas
Americans like the idea of their government promoting democracy in other nations. But democracy promotion has historically lagged far behind other objectives among the public’s long-term foreign policy goals.