Just The Facts

United States: Not Exceptional, But One Nation Among Many

Americans’ attitudes about the U.S. role in the world have changed markedly.

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Takeaways


  • 53% of Americans now say the U.S. plays a less important role in the world than it did a decade ago.
  • 70% of Americans say the US is less respected than in the past.
  • 66% of Americans believe that more U.S. integration in the global economy is good.
  • Americans have confidence in peer-to-peer efforts to promote democracy, human rights and development.
  • There has been surprisingly little said against the proposed defense cuts.

1. For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans (53%) says the U.S. plays a less important and powerful role than it did a decade ago.

2. Back in 2004, only 20% of Americans believed that their country had become less powerful.

3. 70% of Americans say the United States is less respected around the world than in the past.

4. For the first time in 50 years, only 52% of Americans say that the U.S. should be less engaged in world affairs.

5. A majority of Americans (51%) say that their country is doing too much to help solve the world’s problems.

6. 66% of Americans believe that more U.S. integration in the global economy is good. Those majorities span across political affiliation, education and income levels.

7. Astonishingly, popular support for global trade and business connections has increased 24 percentage points during the recession (since 2008).

8. Americans have confidence in peer-to-peer efforts to promote democracy, human rights and development. However, Americans have lost faith that U.S. political and military institutions can do much to shape the world.

9. There has been surprisingly little said against the proposed defense cuts, which would reduce the size of the U.S. Army to its lowest levels since 1940.

10. Majorities say protecting the jobs of American workers (81%), reducing the United States’ dependence on imported energy sources (61%), combating international drug trafficking (57%) and reducing illegal immigration (48%) should be priorities.

From America’s Place in the World 2013 by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, and The Leaderless Doctrine by David Brooks (New York Times).

 

 

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