Global Views 2008: American Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

  • Marshall Bouton (Creator)
  • Gregory Holyk (Creator)
  • Steven Kull (Creator)
  • Benjamin I Page (Creator)



This study is part of a quadrennial series designed to investigate the opinions and attitudes of the general public on matters related to foreign policy, and to define the parameters of public opinion within which decision-makers must operate. This public opinion study of the United States focused on respondents' opinions of the United States leadership role in the world and the challenges the country faces internationally and is comprised of two parts, the July 2008 and the September 2008 surveys. In particular, the July 2008 survey covers United States foreign policy, globalization, trade and immigration, the rise of China, and the United States-Japan relationship. Regarding United States foreign policy, respondents were asked to give their views on whether the United States should take an active part in world affairs, threats to vital interests in the next ten years, foreign policy goals, treaties and agreements, the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council, conflict between Christians and Muslims, and combating terrorism. Additional questions included whether respondents favored the United States having military bases in other countries, their opinions about justifications for the use of United States troops abroad, the Iraq War, nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel, and participants' views on several countries and world organizations. Regarding globalization, trade, and immigration, respondents gave their opinions on whether globalization is good or bad for the United States, lowering trade barriers, the trade practices of various countries, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), economic competitiveness of the United States economy, and the future of United States power and the next generation of Americans. In addition, on the topic of globalization and immigration, queries included the importance of Asia and Europe, the pace of globalization, fairness of income distribution, foreign investments in American companies, the level of legal immigration into the United States and whether or not immigration is good. Concerning the rise of China, respondents were asked to compare the size and potential of the United States and China economies and their implications, loans between the countries, how to deal with China's increase in power, and whether China or Japan is more important to the United States. On the subject of the United States-Japan relationship, participants gave their opinions regarding the amending of Japan's constitution to allow for a wider range of military activities, Japan's development of nuclear weapons, and what factors contribute to Japan's global influence. Part 2, the September 2008 survey, commissioned to gauge whether any substantial changes in attitudes occurred due to the financial crisis, repeated a subset of questions from the July 2008 survey and focused on respondents' attitudes toward trade and globalization. Demographic and other background information includes age, race, gender, marital status, religious affiliation, political party affiliation, employment status, education, household composition, type of housing, state of residence, and access to the Internet.
Date made available2010
PublisherICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Date of data productionJul 3 2008 - Sep 26 2008
Geographical coverageUnited States

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