Updated Aug 20, 2018

Exclusive poll: Americans want Trump to quit hammering foreign allies

Americans are more worried about the rupturing of international alliances and agreements than they are about being pushed around by other countries, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Data: Survey Monkey online poll conducted August 15-17, 2018 among 2,096 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±3.0 percentage points. Modeled error estimates: African-American women ±9.5, age 18 to 34 ±5.5, White suburban women ±7.0, Never Hillary Independent voters ±10.0, Rural voters ±6.0, Republicans ± 4.5, Democrats ± 4.0, Independents ± 7.0; Poll methodology; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: President Trump claims his combative foreign policy — tariffs and threats for allies and adversaries alike — is necessary to correct for years of being "ripped off" on the world stage. Trump's base tends to see things his way, but a majority of Americans (56%) are more worried about damage being done to alliances and agreements.

Overall, 41% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, down from 46% when we last asked in May and slightly below his overall approval rating of 43%. Ahead of the midterm elections, here’s how he fares on foreign policy among key subgroups:

  • 57% of white suburban women disapprove, along with 86% of African American women and 65% of 18-34-year-olds.
  • Never Hillary Independents are split about evenly (48% approve, 50% disapprove), while rural Americans are narrowly in favor (51% approve, 47% disapprove).

Two-thirds of Americans say it’s very (40%) or somewhat likely (27%) that the Russian government will attempt to interfere in the midterms, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others have warned they will.

  • Nearly all Democrats (87%) consider interference at least somewhat likely, and 66% consider it very likely. Republicans are more divided — 51% consider interference likely, 48% unlikely.
  • Differences are much smaller within the five key voter subgroups, but suburban white women are most convinced that the Russians will attempt to interfere in 2018 (75%); rural voters are least convinced (57% likely).

Worth noting: Most Americans are unlikely to be thinking about foreign policy as they make up their minds ahead of the midterms. Just 5% of voters said it’s the issue that matters most to them.

What to watch: We'll be revisiting the five voter subgroups and their views on different topics each week in the run-up to November's votes.

Methodology: This analysis is based on SurveyMonkey online surveys conducted Aug. 15-17 among 2,479 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate  for the full sample is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. Sample sizes and modeled error estimates for the subgroups are as follows:

African-American Women (n=144, +/- 9.5), Millennials Age 18 - 34 (n=486, +/- 5.5), White Suburban Women  (n=432 , +/- 7), NeverHillary/Independent voters  (n= 169, +/- 10), Rural  (n= 551, +/- 6). Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. More information about our methodology here. Crosstabs available here.

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