Poll: U.S. Public Opinion on Foreign Policy Pivots to Europe, Unites on Ukraine Support

While Americans are sharply divided on many domestic issues ahead of midterms, the war in Ukraine seems to have united them on some of the most critical foreign policy issues – not least on continuing to support Ukraine militarily and economically. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs details the findings in a report on its 2022 survey of American public opinion on U.S. foreign policy, published today.


Although Americans are far removed from the physical struggle in Ukraine, they have felt its economic pinch. Despite this, the war has united Americans’ view of the world today. How the United States should respond to international conflicts, the U.S. military presence in Europe and Asia and the threats facing the country are all unifying topics across party lines, albeit often for different reasons.   


  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans support continuing economic (71%) and military (72%) aid to Ukraine, and 58 percent are willing to continue to support the country “as long as it takes,” even if U.S. households will have to pay higher prices for gas and food. 
  • Americans across the political spectrum agree Europe is now the most important region for U.S. security (50%), up from 15 percent two years ago. 
  • Eighty-one percent of Americans say the United States should maintain (62%) or increase (19%) its commitment to NATO, the highest level of support recorded since Chicago Council Surveys began in 1974. 
  • Americans support retaining U.S. military bases in Germany (68%), Poland (62%) and the Baltics (65%) at levels not seen in 20 years. 

Enduring Support for Assisting Ukraine 

Despite the high price tag associated with assistance to Ukraine, solid majorities of the American public remain supportive of U.S. economic assistance (71%) and military transfers (72%) to Ukraine. Indeed, 58 percent are willing to continue to support the country “as long as it takes,” even if American households will have to pay higher prices for gas and food. While a majority remain opposed to sending U.S. troops to fight on Ukrainian soil, a substantial minority of Americans (38%) would support it despite repeated pledges from President Joe Biden and NATO leaders that they will not send their troops into combat in Ukraine. 

Broad Agreement on European Security Focus 

The invasion has refocused public attention on Europe, with Americans across the political spectrum now saying Europe is the most important region of the world for the security of the United States (50%). This represents a notable shift from past surveys, when their security concerns focused squarely on the Middle East. Americans’ commitment to NATO and support for U.S. military bases in Europe are now at their highest levels in nearly 50 years of polling by the Council. In addition, majorities support the accession of new NATO members Sweden (76%) and Finland (76%) and would also support the accession of Ukraine (73%) and Georgia (67%). 

The Public Views Russia’s Invasion as Setting a Precedent 

While Americans say Europe is currently the most important region for U.S. security, they see the potential for other countries to emulate Russia and provoke additional conflicts elsewhere. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) expect that other countries will follow Russia’s example of launching wars for territorial conquest, and three in four (76%) believe China will view Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a precedent, encouraging it to invade Taiwan. 

If Beijing Invades, Americans Want to Help Taiwan  

If Beijing were to invade Taiwan, Americans favor assisting Taipei along the lines of the current U.S. assistance for Ukraine. Majorities say if China were to invade Taiwan, they would support imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions against China (76%), sending additional arms and military equipment to Taiwan (65%), and even using the U.S. Navy to prevent China from imposing a blockade around Taiwan (62%). Four in 10 (40%) say they would support putting U.S. boots on the ground to help Taiwan defend itself. 

Partisan Agreement Does Not Extend to Foreign Policy Priorities 

Despite the bipartisan agreement on how the United States should address the war in Ukraine and the threat to Taiwan, there remain stark partisan differences over foreign policy more generally. As in past surveys, Republicans favor a more unilateral and security-first approach to foreign policy and are wary about engaging abroad for reasons other than American security or economic interests. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to think internationally coordinated solutions to global problems should be the main focus of U.S. foreign policy. 

These partisan differences are even starker when it comes to views of the primary purpose of U.S. policy abroad and the most effective ways to achieve America’s goals. Republicans emphasize the physical security of the country and the use of military power to deter and respond to threats. Democrats take a broader view of U.S. security and the role of the United States in leading multilateral efforts to address these issues. 


The 2022 Chicago Council Survey, a project of the Lester Crown Center on U.S. Foreign Policy, is the latest in a series of wide-ranging surveys on American attitudes toward U.S. foreign policy dating back to 1974. The survey was conducted from July 15 to August 1, 2022, among a representative national sample of 3,106 adults. For full details, including the survey methodology, please read the full survey report.   


Founded in 1922, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing knowledge and engagement in global affairs. Our in-depth analysis and expert-led research influence policy conversations and inform the insights we share with our growing community. Through accessible content and open dialogue of diverse, fact-based perspectives, we empower more people to help shape our global future.  

Learn more at globalaffairs.org and follow @ChicagoCouncil. 



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