Nearly four in 10 Americans say that foreign policy issues should be a top priority for the US in 2024, according to a new poll, roughly double the percentage recorded in the previous year.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey in December found that 38% of US adults list foreign policy topics as the most significant issue facing the country — up from 18% in 2022.
That doubling of importance occurred among both Republicans (23% to 46%) and Democrats (16% to 34%), ranking it as the third most important issue for both political parties.
The response was the second biggest shift in public opinion since last year following a double-digit increase among Americans concerned about US involvement overseas, from 5% to 20%.
Congress is currently debating a $110 billion national security supplemental package requested by President Biden that would aid Ukraine and Israel, following Russia’s invasion in February 2022 and Hamas’ terror attack in Israel on Oct. 7, respectively.
Additionally, the funds would go to the Indo-Pacific region to assist Taiwan from Chinese aggression and to enhance immigration enforcement as migrant crossings have reached record levels on the southern border.
One Republican respondent expressed concern to the Associated Press that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would vastly complicate US foreign policy during a period when the nation is “already spread so thin” monitoring conflicts.
“They would love to have us split three ways,” Warren E. Capito, a Gordonsville, Va., resident, remarked to the outlet about China.
A younger respondent, however, said the US government’s foreign military assistance was edging out domestic concerns.
“I care about others, I do,” added Travis Brown, a Democrat and 32-year-old forklift operator from Las Vegas. “But when you sit here and say, ‘I just sent $50 million over to Israel’ and then I go outside and I see half a neighborhood rundown … you’ve got to take care of home.”
The Senate is working to finalize negotiations on the aid package when lawmakers return from their holiday recess next week, giving the House enough time to pass the measure before taking up a slate of government appropriations bills that will run out Jan. 19.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and his Republican majority passed $14.3 in standalone assistance for Israel but have declined to take up the rest of the provisions in the spending package.
The AP/NORC poll asked respondents to share their top five issues they want the government to handle in the upcoming year, with the economy registering as the most significant concern among 76% of participants.
By party affiliation, 85% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats agreed with that assessment.
Just 36% named politics as an important issue, while 35% said immigration and 30% said inflation.
Most Republicans (55%) said that the government needs to focus on immigration, the only issue besides the economy that registered with a majority of respondents who identify with the party.
But the poll also shows that nearly a quarter of Democrats (22%) agree that immigration should be a primary national concern.
“It’s a disaster,” Janet Brewer, a 69-year-old independent who resides in San Diego near the US-Mexico border, told the Associated Press of the border situation. “It’s crazy.”
The survey of 1,074 US adults was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.