Daniel W. Drezner

A most unusual foreign policy poll

A most unusual foreign policy poll

A few months ago, the Tobin Project sponsored a YouGov poll to be put in the field on American attitudes towards foreign policy and national security.  Dartmoth political science Benjamin Valentino conducted the poll, being so good as to solicit, collate and structure questions solicited from other political scientists, myself included. 

You can look at all of the topline results here, with party-line breakdowns to the responses.  The question I offered was Q53: "In thinking about a country’s influence in the world, which single factor do you think matters most?"  The response:

25.9%  "The country’s military strength"

45.0%  "The size of the country’s economy"

8.2%  "The attractiveness of the country’s culture"

21.0% "Don’t know"

As for party line splits, Republicans stressed military strength almost as much as GDP (39.8% to 42.5%), which made them a bit of an outlier compared with Democrats or independents. 

Related to this is Q57, which asked respondents whether they preferred a high growth world in which "the average American’s income doubles, but China grows faster than the United
States and China’s economy becomes much larger than America’s" or a low growth world, in which "the average American’s income increases by only 10 percent, but the U.S. economy remains much larger than China’s."  A majority (50.7%) preferred the low growth world, thus supporting my long-standing argument that Americans are stone-cold mercantilists

I also submitted a variant of Q21:  "In your opinion, what country is America’s most important foreign ally?" to see whether Israel made it into the "super-special" ally status desired by a few neoconservatives and political leaders.  Again, the results and party splits are interesting.  Among the entire sample, Israel placed second, behind only Great Britain.  It was a much stronger second among the GOP respondents, however — among Democrats, Israel actually came in third, below — gasp! — Canada.   

Readers are strongly encouraged to scan the the entire poll — there’s a lot of great stuff.  The responses to Q25 ("How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘The United States faces greater threats to its security today than it did during the Cold War.’") will make Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen want to bang their heads against a wall.  And the GOP responses to Q64 ("Which of the following statements best describes your views on whether Barack Obama was born in the United States or another country?") are, shall we say, disturbing.