Quiz: What percentage of Americans are isolationists?

Quiz: What percentage of Americans are isolationists?

For those of you who don’t subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you’re missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.

The question I’d like to highlight this week is:

What percentage of Americans are self-described isolationists?

a) 18 percent    b) 30 percent    c) 49 percent

Answer after the jump …


C, 49 percent. Isolationist sentiment in the United States has skyrocketed to the highest level in decades, according to an analysis of survey data by the Pew Research Center. In November, 49 percent of survey respondents agreed the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." That’s up from 42 percent in 2005, 30 percent in December 2002, and a mere 18 percent in 1964 (the earliest year with data available).

Unilateralist sentiment is also at a high. Last fall, 44 percent of respondents agreed that because the United States "is the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not." That’s up from 25 percent in 2002, 34 percent in 1995, 29 percent in 1976, and 19 percent in 1964.

And for more questions about how the world works, check out the rest of the FP Quiz.