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.
Mixed Views on Tax Cuts, Support for START and Allowing Gays to Serve Openly
With the public giving subpar approval ratings to President Obama and continuing to express negative views of Congress and the political parties, it goes its own way on many of the remaining issues before the lame-duck Congress.
Voting in Foreign-Policy Oblivion
While it is not unusual for foreign policy to take a back seat during difficult economic times, the absence of concern at a time when American troops are fighting a war in Afghanistan, and the threat of terrorism remains high is remarkable.
Obama’s Middle East Problem
While global publics largely take a positive view of the president’s leadership and foreign policy, he receives his lowest marks on dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and his ratings on this issue are especially negative in the Arab nations of the Middle East.
Public Sees a Future Full of Promise and Peril
Most Americans envision a future where cancer is cured and space travel is for everyone. But they also see a world beset by war, energy shortages and a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. Still, most see a better future for themselves and the nation over the next four decades.