Are US voters really turning isolationist?

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Article Highlights

  • Interpreting opinion polls will always be as much art as science.

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  • Fully 84 percent of respondents said the United States ought to exercise either shared or singular global leadership.

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  • The American public is persistently searching for a president who can enhance American strength and exert effective global leadership.

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News anchors and correspondents casually refer to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul as the leader of the isolationist wing of the Republican Party. Sen. John McCain warned in August that the time had come for “a debate about the future of the [Republican] party,” a debate about “isolationism versus internationalism.” Isolationism was supposed to remain dead and buried beneath the waves at Pearl Harbor, but as noted by Bruce Stokes on GPS this week, a comprehensive new study by the Pew Research Center reports that “support for US global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further” while, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans want the US “to mind its own business internationally.”

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