Survey: Half of Americans, most Republicans think US global influence is waning
Roughly half of Americans and a large majority of Republicans think the nation’s global influence is slipping, according to a new Pew Research analysis.
Overall, 47 percent of respondents told Pew pollsters the country’s influence on the global stage is weakening, while 19 percent said it is waxing, with the remainder deeming it unchanged. The thinktank released the report last week based on a survey conducted earlier this year.
The findings may surprise Democrats who had hoped replacing Donald Trump with Joe Biden would improve the nation’s image of itself and its standing around the world.
Supporters of President Biden widely embraced the narrative that his administration would restore America’s flagging global reputation, elevating the U.S. among its economic allies and rivals.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, received low marks in many quarters for his handling of international relations over the four years of his presidency.
The new survey didn’t ask about the performance of the Biden administration per se, but it finds that many Americans aren’t feeling good about their country on the international stage.
Predictably, responses split along party lines.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans who don’t support the current president or his party see the nation’s influence slipping, compared to 37 percent of pro-Biden Democrats.
Pew surveyed citizens of 18 other countries and found Americans among the most dispirited about their nation’s global standing. No other country had such a large share of respondents who fear their nation is declining as a global power.
Around the globe, partisan politics colored the responses.
“In almost every country surveyed, those who do not support the political party in power are more likely than supporters to believe that their country’s influence in the world is getting weaker,” the report states.
Fear of slipping global reach seems to run high among the citizens of other global powers.
Forty-three percent of Japanese respondents said they believe the nation’s global sway is weakening, while only 8 percent see it strengthening.
In Britain, 39 percent of respondents perceive the country’s global influence ebbing, while 18 percent see it rising.
Among the world’s largest economies, only Germany reported relative confidence in the nation’s strengthening global stature. Twenty-five percent of Germans see the nation’s influence rising, while 22 percent see it falling.
Of the 19 nations surveyed, only Israel yielded a majority of residents who believe their global influence is rising.
Conversations about America’s waning global gravitas inevitably turn to talk of China’s influence rising. An earlier Pew report found that 66 percent of Americans believe China’s global influence is growing, while only 10 percent sense it is shrinking.
Roughly the same share of Americans, 67 percent, told pollsters they see China’s power and influence as a threat. But the public apparently views China more as rival than foe.
Russia, by contrast, is viewed very much as America’s enemy. Those attitudes shifted quickly after Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. At the year’s start, people polled by Pew saw both China and Russia more as economic rivals than Cold War-style foes.
Pew’s findings match those of the Gallup organization, which has polled Americans on the country’s global standing for decades. In 2022, only 37 percent of respondents told Gallup they were satisfied with the position of the United States in the world today.
That sentiment seems to be nothing new. Gallup found a large majority of Americans dissatisfied with the nation’s global stature in several polls going back to mid-2000s. By contrast, most Americans voiced confidence in the nation’s global position in the years following the 2001 terror attacks.
Current fears aside, much of the world still regards the United States as the most influential nation.
We know this because of U.S. News, which produces an annual ranking of “Best Countries.”
Factors include a global sorting of nations by perceived international influence.
China and Britain rank second and third in global influence on the U.S. News list.
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