Two questions I recently asked on a national survey touched on voter sentiment surrounding the issue of gun violence and whether or not America’s foreign policy is helping more or hurting the rest of the world. Looking at the questions, one can spot a connection between America’s declining influence on the world stage – often considered a result of excessive aggression – and its problem with gun violence at home.
A look at the data:
Overall, is America’s foreign policy helping or hurting the rest of the world?
- More voters (37%) say it’s hurting the world vs. 29% siding with the belief that the rest of the world benefits from our foreign policy. Still, one-third are on the fence (which speaks volumes).
- Almost as many Democratic voters (36%) are undecided as the 42% who believe America’s foreign policy helps the world.
- Republicans are more critical (53%, likely a vote against Biden) and 21% say it has more of a helping effect.
- Most Independents (41%) remain unsure and a substantial 36% side with the view that America is hurting the rest of the world in the way it flexes its leadership.
Following 20 years of occupying Afghanistan, within months America became engulfed in the Ukrainian conflict, with reverberations felt throughout the rest of the world.
Viewed in this light, overall, more Americans are feeling pessimistic about America’s role in the world. And America’s emphasis on military might and an aggressive foreign policy could be driving this sentiment.
On the domestic front, there is gun violence, which has recently become the second top issue among voters, replacing abortion. Currently, it is number one among Democrats.
Which of the following views comes closer to your own regarding gun violence?
A: Gun violence is first and foremost a gun problem and bold legislation can remedy it.
B: Gun violence is a mental health crisis and focusing on guns will not resolve the problem.
- Shy of a majority, 49% of US voters side with the notion that gun legislation cannot stop violent behavior.
- Still, 41% believe bold and swift legislation is necessary.
- Two-thirds of Democrats (67%) want bold legislation, 73% of Republicans resolve that legislation cannot reduce violent people from acting violently, and more Independents (50%) concur with Republicans vs. 35% siding with Democrats.
In the final analysis, foreign policy and gun violence are issues gaining momentum as we gear up for 2024. Will voters demand the repatriation of military aid (weaponry) to Ukraine in the form of economic development? Will they support bold legislation to address gun violence or opt for bold action surrounding mental health?