A new poll out Monday morning found a striking amount of U.S. voters opposed to further military engagements around the world and a wide majority voicing a big-picture opinion that American forces should be used in a more limited fashion.
According to the Politico survey of likely voters in battleground districts, only 22% agreed with the statement that the United States, “as a moral leader,” has a “a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe.” Around 66% of respondents said the U.S. military should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.”
In specific regions embroiled in military conflict, a clear majority of respondents rejected expanded military engagement. Just 17% said the U.S. should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine — though the poll was in the field before the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine last Thursday. More than 75% said they backed a proposal to withdrawal all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. The likely voters responded similarly when asked about Iraq and Syria.
In its Monday briefing, the research firm Potomac Research Group called the results “astonishing” and suggested President Barack Obama should personally articulate his administration’s foreign policy vision.
“On virtually all hot spots — Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, etc. — the public says ‘no mas,'” the firm wrote. “Our take is that someone in this administration needs to explain to the public what’s at stake — not the gaseous John Kerry, but the president himself. More presidential engagement would help, yet Obama played golf yesterday and will spend much of this week fundraising in California.”
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