The majority of Americans believe President Obama is too weak on foreign policy and national security issues, and they fear that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.
The survey finds that 70 percent of respondents say the United States is less respected by other countries than in the past, a finding that matches the 71 percent level reached in May 2008 during former President George W. Bush’s second term.
The poll, released on Tuesday, produces some conflicting results.
Support for U.S. global engagement has dropped to a historic low, with 52 percent saying the United States should “mind its own business internationally.”
But 66 percent say greater U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing.
Mr. Obama fares poorly on his handling of foreign policy. A majority of the respondents disapprove of his performance on Syria, Iran, China and Afghanistan.
The survey finds that for the first time in nearly 40 years, a majority of Americans say the United States plays a less important role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.
Forty-eight percent say China is the world’s top economic power, but 68 percent consider America to be the leading military power. Just 14 percent think China has surpassed the U.S. in military might.
Terrorism is the only issue on which a majority of 51 percent approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, while 44 disapprove.
On the use of drones to kill terrorists in their safe havens, 50 percent of the respondents say the deadly unmanned aircraft have made the United States safer, and 14 percent say it has put the United States at risk.
The survey of foreign policy attitudes is based on interviews with 2,003 adults and was conducted by the Pew Research Center in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations between Oct. 30 and Nov. 6.