Democrats who back Hillary Clinton differ from those who support Bernie Sanders in their views of many foreign policy issues, with some of the starkest divisions on fundamental questions relating to the U.S.’s role in the world, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in March and April.
Two-thirds (66%) of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters who support Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination say that world problems would be even worse without U.S. involvement; just 28% say U.S. efforts usually make things worse. By contrast, Sanders supporters are divided: 49% say global problems would be even worse without the U.S. being involved, while nearly as many (45%) say U.S. efforts usually make matters worse.
Sanders supporters also are less likely than Democratic voters who back Clinton to say that the U.S. should help other countries deal with their problems (41% vs. 52%). A majority of those who prefer Sanders (54%) say that the U.S. should deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can, while 45% of Clinton supporters hold this view.
(For a look at how GOP voters view these and other issues, see “Trump supporters differ from other GOP voters on foreign policy, immigration issues.”)
Other issues: ISIS, defense spending and Israel
While most Sanders supporters (62%) say the military campaign is not going well, just 38% of Clinton supporters agree. Most Clinton supporters (57%) say the campaign is going well.
About six-in-ten Democrats (59%) say their bigger concern is that the U.S. will go too far in getting involved in Iraq and Syria, versus 34% who say the U.S. will not go far enough in stopping Islamic militants. About two-thirds (68%) of Sanders supporters are more concerned the U.S. will go too far in becoming involved in Iraq and Syria, compared with about half of Clinton supporters (53%).
Clinton and Sanders supporters disagree when it comes to striking the balance between anti-terrorism policies and civil liberties. About half of Clinton supporters (51%) say they are more concerned that U.S. anti-terrorism policies have not gone far enough to protect the country, while 35% say they have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. Sanders supporters express the opposite concern: 51% are more worried anti-terrorism policies have gone too far, while just 33% worry that they have not gone far enough.
By a wide margin (47% to 27%), Clinton supporters say they sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians in their dispute. By contrast, Sanders backers are divided, with fairly similar shares saying they sympathize with the Palestinians (39%) and Israel (33%).
On some of the issues on which there are divisions among supporters of the two Democratic candidates – including on the military campaign against ISIS and support for Israel or the Palestinians – GOP voters are largely in agreement. Conversely, while Republican voters are split over many aspects of immigration policy, Democratic voters are largely in sync with each other. For instance, overwhelming shares of both Sanders supporters (82%) and Clinton supporters (78%) say that immigrants to the U.S. strengthen the country. Only about a third of Republican voters (32%) say immigrants strengthen the country, but GOP voters who did not support Donald Trump in the primaries were more likely than Trump supporters to express this view (41% vs. 20%).