Republicans and Democrats have firmly split over what the country’s foreign policy priorities should be, which mirrors the sharp divides between supporters of the two parties’ presidential candidates, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found in a new survey.

The majority of Americans, 68%, said they wanted the U.S. to take an active part in world affairs, while 30% said they wanted the U.S. to stay out.

But while most Americans agree that the U.S. should take part in global affairs, the report found that “there are profound differences between Democrats and Republicans on which foreign policy issues matter most today. And they are even more sharply divided on how the United States should deal with these issues and engage the rest of the world.”

  • 80% of Democrats preferred a collaborative approach coordinating with other nations.
  • 62% of independents and 40% of Republicans said the same.
  • 58% of Republicans preferred a self-sufficient strategy that doesn’t rely on any other nation.
  • 36% of independents and just 18% of Democrats said the same.

“The foreign-policy positions of the two candidates in the upcoming 2020 presidential election mirror this public divide,” the report states. “President Donald J. Trump articulated a clear message favoring nationalism over multilateralism” while at the United Nations last year.

“This agenda contrasts sharply with that put forth by the Democratic candidate. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has stated that his foreign policy will embrace the networks of partnerships and alliances the United States has built over the decades to enhance national security and freedom.”

The survey also found that the number of Americans, particularly Democrats, who think that the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world has fallen since 2012.

  • 85% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats in 2012 said that the U.S. was the greatest nation.
  • 80% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats in 2020 said the same.

The Chicago Council conducted its survey online from July 2-19, 2020 with 2,111 people across the country, and a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.

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