Pew Research Survey: Far More Americans See U.S. Influence in the World Getting Weaker, Not Stronger | Trade and Industry Development

Pew Research Survey: Far More Americans See U.S. Influence in the World Getting Weaker, Not Stronger

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Dec 27, 2022
By more than a two-to-one margin, Americans say their country’s influence in the world has been getting weaker rather than stronger in recent years (47% vs. 19%), according to a Pew Research Center survey.

By more than a two-to-one margin, Americans say their country’s influence in the world has been getting weaker rather than stronger in recent years (47% vs. 19%), according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted this past spring. Roughly a third of U.S. adults (32%) say their nation’s influence on the global stage has stayed about the same.

The United States is the lone country out of 19 surveyed where a plurality of adults say their country’s influence has been getting weaker recently. In Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia, majorities say that their country’s global influence has stayed about the same. In one country, Israel, a majority of adults say their country’s influence has gotten stronger in recent years.

In the U.S., views on this question are closely related to partisanship. A 63% majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say American influence on the global stage is getting weaker. Only 37% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the same.

In other countries, too, politics plays a role in the way people see their country’s influence in the world. 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.

In 13 countries, those who do not support the ruling party are at least 10 percentage points more likely than supporters to see their country’s influence weakening. This difference is largest in Greece, where close to half (47%) of those who do not support the governing party, New Democracy, say Greece’s influence in the world is getting weaker. Only 6% of New Democracy supporters say the same – a difference of 41 points.

Besides Greece, there is a difference of around 20 points or more between governing party supporters and nonsupporters in Hungary, Spain, South Korea, Canada, France, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

In about half of the countries surveyed, respondents who say there are very or somewhat strong conflicts between political parties are more likely to say their country’s global influence is diminishing. In the UK, for example, 44% of those who see serious conflict between partisan groups say their country is losing influence globally. Just 30% of those who do not see serious political differences agree.

In Israel, by contrast, those who see strong party conflicts are more likely than those who do not to say their country’s international influence has been getting stronger in recent years (59% vs. 46%).

People who are not satisfied with the current state of their democracy are also more likely to say their country’s global influence is on the wane. In every country surveyed, respondents who say they are not satisfied with their democracy are more likely to think their world influence has gotten weaker in recent years.

This is especially the case in Hungary, Canada, Greece, France and South Korea. In these five countries, those who are dissatisfied with democracy are more likely than those who are satisfied to say their country’s global influence has become weaker in recent years by about 30 percentage points or more. In most places surveyed, people who are satisfied with their democracy are more likely to say their country’s influence has been getting stronger.

People who rate their democracy critically on another measure – whether or not individuals are able to influence politics – are also more likely to say their country’s international influence is weakening. This is the case in nearly all places surveyed, but especially in Hungary and Canada.

Views on this question also vary by whether respondents are optimistic or pessimistic about the long-term economic future of children in their country. In almost every place surveyed, those who feel that children in their country will be worse off financially than their parents are also more likely to say that their country’s global influence is getting weaker. In Hungary, for example, 53% of those who say children will be worse off in the future also say that Hungary’s influence is getting weaker. By comparison, only 21% of those who believe children in Hungary will be better off financially than their parents say the same.

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