2016 CHICAGO COUNCIL SURVEY

America in the Age of Uncertainty

America in the Age of Uncertainty

American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy

American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy

Over the past year, Donald Trump has been able to channel the anxieties of a significant segment of the American public into a powerful political force.

These public anxieties stem from growing concerns about the effects of globalization on the American economy and about the changing demographics of the United States.

With his tough stances on immigration and trade, Trump has gained traction in the presidential race. But his views on important issues garner only minority support from the overall American public.

Trump’s Core Support Is Based on Immigration and Trade

Find out where core Trump supporters stand on:

Illegal Immigrants
 

6 in 10

believe that illegal immigrants in the United States should be forced to leave their jobs and the United States.

Syrian
Refugees

91%

do not support admitting Syrian refugees into the United States.

International
Trade

57%

think that international trade is bad for the US economy.

CORE SUPPORTERS OF TRUMP ARE THOSE IN THE SURVEY SAMPLE WHO SAID THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS THEIR “TOP CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT” AMONG A LIST INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING CANDIDATES: HILLARY CLINTON, DONALD TRUMP, BERNIE SANDERS, JEB BUSH, TED CRUZ, AND JOHN KASICH.

More Trump Supporters See Immigration as a Critical Threat

Democrats

Independents

Republicans

Core Trump Supporters

Trump Supporters Are Less Likely Than Republicans
Overall to See Globalization as Mostly Good

Democrats

Independents

Republicans

Core Trump Supporters

While Trump supporters are the most stridently opposed to immigration and are the least likely to support free trade today, these sentiments are not new. Nor are they the majority viewpoint among Americans, who generally support both immigration and trade.

Republicans Are Most Likely to Say Immigration Is a Critical Threat to the United States

Negative Feelings toward Immigration and Trade Don't Reflect Majority View

Find out where Americans overall stand on:

Illegal Immigrants

58%

say that illegal immigrants currently working in the United States should be allowed to stay and pursue a path to citizenship.

Immigration

Only

43%

see immigration as a threat to the United States.

International
Trade

65%

say that globalization is mostly good for the United States.

While Trump’s views on immigration and trade clearly resonate with his core supporters, some of his other criticisms of US foreign policy are less popular among his base. For example, core Trump supporters are somewhat more cautious than other Americans of alliances and an active US role in world affairs, but in most cases they continue to favor international engagement.

Republicans and Core Trump Supporters Favor Achieving Foreign Policy Goals by Maintaining US Military Superiority

Watch Council senior fellow and report author, Dina Smeltz, break down the key report findings:
 

Despite divides on issues such as immigration and trade, the American public finds a great deal of common ground on American leadership in the world and how to achieve American goals.

To learn more, download the full 2016 Chicago Council Survey.


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