A recent survey by Pew Research Center reveals that over half of Americans believe that the U.S. is less powerful and prestigious in the world than it was 10 years ago. Is this the beginning of a U.S. decline?
Pew explains in a report on their new findings:
The survey of the general public, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 6 among 2,003 adults, finds that views of U.S. global importance and power have passed a key milestone. For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority (53%) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The share saying the U.S. is less powerful has increased 12 points since 2009 and has more than doubled – from just 20% – since 2004.
The report covers a lot more ground, including granular questions about U.S. foreign policy. But the dramatic shift in public perception of the U.S.'s status in the world is the standout finding, and may suggest that the country is slowly headed into a decline as a world power. Alternatively, it may suggest that citizens fear the U.S. is headed into decline, which is why they are more likely to say that the nation is less powerful than ever.
Another interesting aspect of the Pew study is that it contrasts the views of foreign policy experts with average U.S. citizens. Among policy experts, 57% believe that dealing with global climate change should be a top priority; only 37% of the U.S. public does.
Read the full Pew report on citizens' attitudes about the U.S. in the world