In terms of foreign policy, there are misleading stereotypes of Democrats and Republicans. Supposedly, Democrats are strongly supportive of international cooperation, while Republicans are nationalistic, wanting to focus on America before other countries.

Yet surveys of Republicans generally show strong support for international cooperation. While it is true that Democrats are often more supportive, differences tend to be relatively modest. In many cases, 80% or more of Americans support joint international efforts, with strong support from those across the political spectrum.

In select cases, majorities of Democrats support policies that may be considered more hawkish, or at least prioritizing the interests of Americans over those in other countries. These include support for sufficient nuclear weapons for retaliation if needed, an interest in keeping superpower status, and a belief that protecting jobs of American workers should be a goal of U.S. foreign policy.

Check out the survey results below. This builds off a previous article written on this topic, but this includes many more data points.

From Common Ground of The American People (survey published in August 2020)

  • 87% of Americans backed continuing to have a mutual defense/security treaty with South Korea and Japan
  • 85% of Americans agreed that America should not threaten to withdraw from NATO if European members do not increase their defense spending
  • 85% of Americans said the U.S. should have at a minimum enough nuclear weapons to fulfill a minimum retaliatory capability
  • 83% of Americans believed the U.S. should continue to be part of the NATO military alliance (with it specified that this entails a commitment to collective defense)
  • 83% of Americans backed continuing to have arms control treaties with Russia
  • 82% of Americans thought the U.S. should uphold the principle of collective security

From Pew Research Center (survey conducted March 3-29, 2020)

  • 86% of Americans thought cooperation with other countries is important, especially on the spread of infectious diseases
  • 79% of Americans said the spread of infectious diseases is a major threat

From Pew Research Center (survey conducted September 17-22, 2019)

  • 85% of Americans believed that U.S. military bases in Germany was important to national security
  • 78% of Americans said that Americans were far more likely than Germans to say military force was sometimes necessary.
  • 75% of Americans thought relations today between the U.S. and Germany were good

From Pew Research Center (survey conducted September 3-15, 2019)*

  • 73% of Americans said that the best way to ensure peace is good diplomacy, including 90% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans
  • 73% of Americans agreed that U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing, including 76% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans
  • 68% of Americans agreed that allies; interests should be taken into account, including 83% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans
  • 61% of Americans agreed that U.S. policies should try to maintain U.S. superpower status, including 74% of Republicans and 51% of Democrats

*All Democrats and Republicans in the surveys include leaners.

From Chicago Council Survey (survey published in 2019)*

  • 87% of Americans thought international trade is good for the U.S. economy
  • 87% of Americans favor engaging in trade with Germany and Japan
  • 83% of Americans supported providing humanitarian aid to other countries
  • 82% of Americans backed promoting democracy and human rights around the world
  • 78% of Americans believed that U.S. relationship with Japan does more to strengthen US national security
  • 77% of Americans said cyberattack was a possible threat to the United States in the next 10 years, including 77% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans
  • 74% of Americans said that U.S. military alliances with other countries contribute to U.S. safety

From Pew Research Center (survey conducted November 7-16, 2018)*

  • 72% of Americans agreed on taking measures to protect the U.S. from terrorism as goals for foreign policy, including 84% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats
  • 71% of Americans believed that protecting jobs of Americans workers should be the goals of foreign policy, including 81% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats

*All Democrats and Republicans in the surveys include leaners.

Hyria Stuart is a college student currently studying in Beijing. He majors in social work and serves as a political research assistant (American/international politics) at Boston College while planning to pursue a graduate degree (Public Administration/Policy) in the U.S. He has been interning as a policy analyst and editor since April 2020, focusing on nonpartisan proposals seeking to bring Americans together. He helped re-elect Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) in 2020 as a campaign intern. Hyria has published in “Raise the Voices.” His political bias is Lean Left.

This piece was edited by Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias), and was reviewed by James Coan (Center) of Braver Angels.