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Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index

 Anxious Public Sees Growing Dangers, Few Solutions

Americans are looking out on a world where they see growing dangers, few solutions and little in U.S. foreign policy that seems to be working. In this third edition of the Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index, produced in association with Foreign Affairs, we’re introducing our new “Anxiety Indicator,” which will track the public’s overall outlook on world affairs much as the Consumer Confidence Index follows its view of the economy. Our first indicator shows that public anxiety on international affairs is at high levels (a score of 130 on a 200-point scale), enough to show a deep dissatisfaction with current policies. Read Public Agenda Chairman Daniel Yankelovich’s explanation of the Anxiety Indicator.

Majorities believe the world is becoming a more dangerous place for Americans and that international relations are on the wrong track. Yet the best-known policy strategies, such as actively creating democracies or economic development in Islamic countries, face skepticism from the public. Majorities do believe reducing dependence on foreign energy sources would enhance national security, and even stronger majorities think the government can do something to achieve it–yet nearly half give the United States failing grades in this area. A dangerous world is not as frightening if you have confidence in what the government is doing to cope with it. But increasing numbers of the public give the United States a “D” or “F” grade on accomplishing key foreign policy goals.

Traditionally, the American public focuses more on domestic concerns and gives leaders a lot more leeway in crafting foreign policy. But the threat of terrorism, the Iraq war and the seemingly endless series of crises in the Middle East have put foreign affairs front and center for the public. That’s reflected in the relatively high rating of our first Anxiety Indicator.

Read More…


October 18, 2006 - Posted by | Current News, Polls, World News

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