“Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High,” the Pew Research Center survey headlined its report on the poll about America’s role in the world.
Almost half, 49 percent, told the polling organization that the United States should “mind its own business” internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own, the Pew Research Center survey found. That’s up from 30 percent who said that in December 2002.
Only 32 percent of the poll respondents favored increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, while 40 percent favored decreasing them. And fewer than half, or 46 percent, of those polled said it was somewhat or very likely that Afghanistan would be able to withstand the radicals’ threat.
Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago, up from 25 percent who said that just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the report said.
Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut said in an interview that the “very bad economy” appeared most responsible for the growth of isolationist sentiment. He said the public was also “displeased with the two wars we are waging, in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Among Americans polled, 44 percent said China was the world’s leading economic power, compared with 27 percent who named the United States. In February 2008, 41 percent said the U.S. was the leading economic power, while 30 percent said China was.
A majority of Americans surveyed, or 53 percent, see China’s emerging power as a threat to the United States.
The United States is seen by a comfortable majority, 63 percent, as the world’s leading military power.
Concerning the Middle East, about half, or 51 percent, of respondents said they were more sympathetic toward Israel than to the Palestinians, who drew 12 percent. Fourteen percent supported neither side, while 19 percent offered no opinion.