Ranked: Top 10 Foreign Policy Concerns of Americans [VC]

U.S. Foreign Policy concerns

The Briefing

  • Political leanings aside, terrorism remains a top issue of concern for Americans
  • Previous top issues, such as disinformation and U.S.–China relations, now rank lower

In the United States, there is a distinct difference on top foreign policy concerns between Democrats and Republicans.

This chart uses data from Morning Consult to assess the top policy concerns of Americans.

The Top Concerns

Overall, the average American is most concerned about terrorism, immigration, and drug trafficking. Interestingly, this list corresponds with the concerns of the average Republican, though falling in a different order.

Meanwhile, Democrats are chiefly worried about climate change, another global pandemic, and terrorism.

Here’s a breakdown of the policy concerns at large and across political parties.

Overall Rank with Americans Foreign Policy Concern Share of Voters Listing it as a Top Concern Share of Democrats Listing it as a Top Concern Share of Republicans Listing it as a Top Concern
#1 Terrorism 49% 38% 62%
#2 Immigration 43% 22% 67%
#3 Drug trafficking 43% 30% 59%
#4 Cyberattacks 39% 35% 40%
#5 Climate change 38% 54% 17%
#6 Preventing a global economic crisis 32% 33% 31%
#7 Securing critical supply chains 30% 27% 34%
#8 Preventing another global pandemic 30% 38% 22%
#9 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 27% 33% 21%
#10 Protecting human rights globally 25% 31% 18%
#11 Preventing disinformation 24% 29% 21%
#12 U.S.-China relations 24% 19% 31%
#13 Iran nuclear deal 21% 19% 24%
#14 Upholding democracy globally 15% 22% 8%

Notably, the concern around U.S.-China relations ranks considerably low, as does preventing disinformation. Upholding democracy worldwide ranks extremely low with Republicans.

America’s Foreign Policy

Along party lines, the results are not surprising. Democrats skew towards multilateralism and want to engage with foreign bodies and other countries to tackle global issues. Republicans are generally more concerned with what’s happening at home.

Looking at the country as a whole and its relations with other nations, however, Americans lean more towards an America-first focus. According to Morning Consult, 39% of registered voters want to decrease U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs, whereas 20% want to increase it; 30% want to keep the status quo.

Here’s a closer look at Americans’ desire to get involved in a variety of foreign policy initiatives:

Issue Increase Efforts Decrease Efforts Neither
Overseas Troop Deployment 21% 37% 30%
Trade and Tariffs 41% 15% 29%
Involvement with International Organizations 35% 21% 32%
Resolution of Military Disputes 38% 16% 33%
Resolution of Economic Disputes 43% 13% 31%

As of October 2022

The U.S. Midterm Elections

With midterm elections underway, America’s foreign policy may not be the most important factor for voters. Pew Research Center found that in these congressional elections, foreign policy only ranked 12th among other key issues considered “very important” by registered voters.

The top five concerns of voters in these midterms are:

  1. The economy
  2. The future of democracy within the U.S.
  3. Education
  4. Healthcare
  5. Energy policy

Regardless, the U.S. has a massive impact in foreign affairs and the results of the country’s midterm elections will likely cause a ripple effect globally. If Republicans win the House—which is looking extremely likely—and the Senate, President Biden’s foreign policy initiatives and priorities could be drastically restricted.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Morning Consult

Data notes: This ranking is made using the share of registered U.S. voters who identified the given issue as a top 5 concern for the country. For example, only 30% of registered voters said securing critical supply chains was a top 5 concern which is why it’s #7, whereas 43% said immigration was a top concern, ranking it at #2.

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