Where Are We Going – Trends from 1994 to 2007, Foreign Policy, Global Engagement and Patriotism

Survey Results, Section 3 –

Summarized below are the major findings from section 3 of the Pew Research survey, Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007.

The survey stated at the start of this section that, “Support for the principle of “peace through strength,” which surged in the aftermath of 9/11 but fell sharply after the Iraq war began in 2003, has again declined. And while an overwhelming number of Americans continue to believe the U.S. should be active in world affairs, the number strongly endorsing U.S. global engagement has fallen compared with four years ago.” Since 1994, there has been a small decline in this belief.

We want less involvement since the preemptive invasion of Iraq

Belief in peace through strength
Group 1997 2007
Republican 65% 72%
Democrat 56% 40%
Independent 54% 46%

Other than a spike after 9/11/2001, the interest in revenge has not changed since 1994.

We should get even with any country
that tries to take advantage of the U.S.
Group 1994 2002 2007
Agree 43% 61% 40%
Disagree 54% 32% 54%

According to Pew Research, “In values surveys since 1994, roughly half of the public has expressed agreement that one has an obligation to fight for his or her country whether it is right or wrong. … Indeed, there is no evidence that the Iraq war – or 9/11 before it – have had much of an impact on these attitudes.”

On the other hand, being patriotic did show a slight increase after 9/11 and the preemptive invasion of Iraq. The results also indicate that independent voters were more affected by these events than party members of either party.

I am very patriotic
Group 1999 2002 2003 2007
Republican 64% 63% 71% 61%
Democrat 49% 50% 48% 45%
Independent 40% 50% 54% 47%
Total 49% 54% 56% 49%

According to the survey, “Despite revelations of widespread abuses at a U.S.-run prison in Iraq, most Americans do not rule out the use of torture as a way of gaining important information from suspected terrorists.” Blacks, women, liberal democrats, senior citizens and white mainline protestants are least favorable to the use of torture.

There is very little history on this, but I hope the current level of acceptance only goes down from here as we realize we have opened Pandora’s Box and the world is worse off for the lowering of our standards. Just because Jack Bauer knows when and on who to use it, doesn’t mean any one else can be that sure.

Support for use of torture

There is hope, though, that learning such a hard lesson is possible. This can be seen in the drop in favoritism for preemptive strikes by our military. Since our falsely justified invasion of Iraq, support has dropped overall by 12 percentage points. On the other hand, the neocons are gaining support for such action from all Republicans who have increased their support for preemptive strikes by three percent. This makes it very clear as to who we should elect to run this country.

Support for preemptive military action

Another sign of hope and an indication of who to elect is found in the belief in our government’s efforts to keep us safe from terrorism. There has been a sharp decline in this belief just since December 2006, except for Republicans and probably The Happy Channel – Fox News. Republicans feel very safe at 82 percent.

Government Doing Well at Reducing Terrorism Threat
Group Dec 2006 Mar 2007
(Fox News Viewers)
82% 82%
Democrat 54% 36%
Independent 65% 53%

According to the survey, “The public has become more critical of the government’s performance in reducing the threat of terrorism. A narrow majority (54%) says the government is doing very well, or fairly well, in reducing the threat of terrorism, while 44% say it is doing not too well or not at all well. This is by far the most negative assessment of the government’s anti-terror efforts since the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.”



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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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