Apr 20, 2020 - World

Poll: Voters worry Trump has made America less respected

Dave Lawler, author of World

Trump at the G7. Photo: Jesco Denzel /Bundesregierung via Getty Images

A poll designed to test President Trump’s vulnerabilities on foreign policy finds that 56% of voters in 12 battleground states believe he has made America less respected in the world, compared to 31% who say America is now more respected.

By the numbers: Among the 16% of voters who remain undecided ahead of November’s election, 59% agree that Trump is making the U.S. less respected, compared to 16% who say the U.S. is now more respected.

The poll was commissioned by National Security Action, a group founded by former Obama administration officials to advise Democrats on foreign policy.

  • Ned Price, the group's director of policy and communications, told Axios that Democrats now need to "connect for voters why the fact that America’s reputation is in the dumpster makes us less safe."

Voters were also given 10 possible foreign policy priorities and asked which three were most important to their vote.

Data: Hart Research Associates; Graphic: Axios Visuals
  • The top choices were protecting the U.S. from terrorism, on which Trump polls well, and standing up for American values, on which he polls poorly.
  • Standing up to China ranked last, suggesting Trump’s recent campaign to brand Joe Biden as “soft” on China may not resonate strongly.
  • While border security is a top issue for Republicans, independents are more likely to prioritize international cooperation on climate change.

The big picture: While a plurality (+6%) believes Trump has done a good job keeping America safe from terrorism, a larger one (+22) says he’s increased the likelihood of war.

  • Opinion is deeply polarized. While 81% of Republicans think Trump is making America safer, 81% of Democrats think he’s making America less safe.

What to watch: Presented with a list of criticisms of Trump's foreign policy, voters expressed the most concern about his unwillingness to listen to facts from experts and advisers — a tendency that has gained more scrutiny as the coronavirus crisis has deepened.

  • Worth noting: The poll was conducted March 9–15 — after the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the U.S. but before it became the top issue on every American’s mind.

Methodology: 1,204 people were polled across Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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