(AP) — A majority of Americans disapprove of the way President Donald
Trump is handling U.S. foreign policy and about half think the country's
global standing will deteriorate during the next year, according to new
poll that highlighted the nation's partisan divide on foreign issues.
poll, conducted by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs
Research, also found the public split about the president's plan to
remove U.S. troops from Syria and possibly Afghanistan — and about a
quarter don't have an opinion one way or the other.
the president receives low marks from the public for his job handling
foreign policy — 35 percent approve, while 63 percent disapprove. Like
other issues, the partisan divide is startling. While 76 percent of
Republicans approve, just 8 percent of Democrats say the same.
just think that any time you buddy up with Russia or North Korea, it's
going to be bad business," said Samantha Flowers, a 30-year-old
third-grade teacher from Columbia, Missouri.
the way that he's handling our neighboring countries — Mexico in
particular. I think it just goes against our American values in general.
We've been a welcoming and compassionate country," she said before
starting to recite words emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty, which
reads in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free."
Cleaveland, a 65-year-old truck driver from Ogden, Utah, disagrees and
wholeheartedly backs Trump and his foreign policy.
think he's doing a good job with North Korea. He's done better than
anybody else has ever done. Nobody else has even got it this far with
North Korea," he said referring to Trump's meeting last year in
Singapore with the North Korean leader to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear
to U.S. involvement in foreign wars, the poll showed 39 percent of
Americans approve of pulling the 2,000 American troops from Syria, and
35 percent say they disapprove. The president's decision is supported by
56 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats.
think it's time for our troops to come home — Iraq, Afghanistan,
Syria," said Cleaveland, who was interviewed on speaker phone as he
drove his semitrailer through western Kansas. "I lost a lot of good
friends when I was in Vietnam. I think that was a stupid war too."
month, Trump announced that Islamic State militants had been defeated
in Syria and that American troops would be brought home "now." The plan
triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and criticism
from U.S. allies and national security experts. Later, Trump and others
appeared to adjust the timeline, saying it will likely take several
months to safely withdraw American forces from Syria.
have similar views about the president's expected decision to pull at
least some U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Forty-one percent said they
would approve of a pullout from Afghanistan versus 30 percent who
military shouldn't be the world's police," said Robert Granger, a
44-year old sales representative from Bristol, Tennessee. "We don't
belong in all of these other countries. We need to pull our troops home
and let the other countries take care of themselves."
nation's partisan divide is evident when it comes to Americans' views
of the United States' role in the world, its global standing and its
relationships with other nations.
percent of Democrats think the U.S. should be more active, compared
with 23 percent who think it should be less active; another 32 percent
of Democrats say the nation's current role is about right.
see it differently. Four in 10 Republicans say the U.S. should be less
active in solving the world's problems, while 46 percent think the
current role in world affairs is right. Just 13 percent of Republicans
think the U.S. role abroad should be more active.
also think the nation's global standing and relationships with other
countries will improve or stay the same during the next year. Democrats
largely expect U.S. relations with other nations will worsen.
percent of Republicans say the nation's standing in the world will
improve and another 35 percent say it won't change. By comparison, 77
percent of Democrats think the country's global standing will get worse.
feel like right now, with the way things are going with our current
president, that we will be seen as a joke," said Tamika Allen, a
25-year-old medical claims trainer from Houston, adding that America's
reputation around the world wouldn't diminish immediately, but slowly
percent of Americans consider militant extremist groups to be very or
extremely concerning, with another 29 percent calling the threat
half say they are significantly concerned over the threats of North
Korea's nuclear program (52 percent) and Iran's nuclear program (48
nearly half of Americans — 47 percent — consider Russia's influence
around the world to be extremely or very concerning, slightly fewer — 40
percent — say the same of China's influence around the world. Still,
most consider both countries' influence around the world to be at least
AP-NORC poll of 1,062 adults was conducted Jan. 16 to 20 using a sample
drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed
to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling
error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling
methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.