What's perhaps less heralded is the range of opinions about foreign affairs within the Democratic Party. The same survey, conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, also contrasted the views of core supporters of Hillary Clinton with those of the core supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. The results show notable differences in views about the use of U.S. power in the world, the country's economic future and the threat of terrorism.
The new poll found less-dramatic differences in world view than those found in the Republican Party. In some cases, the Clinton and Sanders camps are surprisingly aligned. Even so, there were some notable differences.
Perhaps one of the most interesting divergences between core Clinton supporters (whom the poll defines as the 47 percent of Democrats who said Clinton was their top choice) vs. core Sanders supporters (the 36 percent who said Sanders was their top choice) was their view of America's place in the world.
Both Clinton and Sanders supporters were relatively even when talking about U.S. influence in the world; Clinton supporters ranked it at 8.9 out of 10 while Sanders supporters put it at 8.5, a rating that hewed closely with views of both Trump and non-Trump Republicans. However, the issue of American "greatness" was viewed very differently. Just 39 percent of Sanders supporters said the United States had a unique character that made it the greatest country in the world, the poll found, as opposed to more than 61 percent of Clinton supporters.
The Chicago Council found that Trump supporters, despite their candidate's "Make America Great Again" slogan, were the most likely to already view the United States as great. Meanwhile, Sanders supporters were more likely to say that every country was unique and that the United States was no greater than other nations. It's worth noting that on this matter, the difference among Democrats was far larger than in the Republican camp.
Sanders supporters were less favorable of an active U.S. role in world affairs than Clinton supporters, though they were more likely than Trump supporters to favor it.
Conversely, just 12 percent of Sanders supporters favored a role for the United States as a dominant world leader. And despite their qualms about an "active" U.S. role in the world, Trump supporters were found to be most in favor of a dominant global leadership role for their country.
When asked what was more important to maintaining U.S. influence and status, Sanders supporters were more likely to favor economic strength over military strength. In a separate question, 15 percent of Sanders supporters said maintaining superior military power was "not important at all" for the United States, compared with 8 percent of Clinton supporters (and 0 percent of Trump supporters).
Of the four groups looked at in the Chicago Council polls, only Clinton supporters were found to not have a majority that felt that the next generation of Americans would be economically worse off than the current one. However, only 17 percent of Clinton supporters felt this generation would be better off; 42 percent thought things would stay about the same.
Sanders supporters were the most in favor of cooperation with China and Russia (77 and 68 percent), while Trump supporters — despite allegations about their candidate's ties with Moscow — were the least (47 and 53 percent). However, these questions had a markedly smaller sample rate than others, so it may be unwise to extrapolate too much here.
Despite all these differences, there were some important areas where the views of Clinton and Sanders supporters are more or less aligned, often in contrast to the views in the Republican Party. For example, the poll found that 48 percent of Clinton supporters think international alliances are "very effective," compared with 39 percent of Sanders supporters. This was somewhat similar to the more negative views of Trump supporters on this question compared with their fellow Republicans.
However, while Trump supporters had a notably more negative view of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than their Republican peers, both Clinton and Sanders supporters largely see that alliance in positive terms.
And despite the widespread talk of the different views of trade, both Clinton and Sanders supporters had a fairly positive view of globalization and said international trade was good for the U.S. economy and their own standard of living — a sharp contrast with Trump supporters. Even the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was favored by a majority of both Clinton and Sanders supporters (74 percent and 54 percent).
Sanders supporters were less likely to view international terrorism as a "critical threat" to the United States in the next 10 years, with 64 percent saying that it was vs. 75 percent of Clinton supporters (Republicans were at 82 to 83 percent, depending on whether they were Trump supporters). However, most still viewed it as an important threat (64 percent), and only 3 percent said it was not important.
Both Clinton and Sanders supporters took a dim view of using restrictions on migrants and refugees as a tactic to stem terrorism, with 52 percent of Clinton supporters and 64 percent of Sanders supporters saying it was rarely or never effective (86 percent of Trump supporters and 73 percent of other Republicans said it was always or mostly effective). Eighty percent of Sanders supporters said the biggest terrorism threat came from inside the United States, and both Clinton and Sanders supporters seemed to lean toward keeping legal immigration at its current level, while Republicans, especially Trump supporters, wanted to decrease it.
Trump supporters and, to a lesser degree, all Republicans were also more likely to say that they had negative views of immigrants from Mexico and the Middle East. Two of the most interesting differences in opinions come along this intersection of terrorism and immigration. Both Clinton and Sanders supporters take a negative view of torture and wall-building, in sharp contrast to Republicans.
The poll was conducted between June 10 and June 27, with a national sample of 2,061 adults. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs said its margin of error among Democrats ranges from 7.2 to 10.3 points, depending on the question (the range was 7.9 to 11.2 points among Republicans).
The poll's release coincides with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and comes at a time of renewed conflict between Clinton and Sanders supporters. Last week, a huge leak of internal Democratic National Committee emails appeared to show that the party may have favored Clinton over Sanders. To make matters that much more scandalous, some suspect Russian authorities of being behind the leak.
However, in terms of the two candidates' supporters at least, the Chicago Council notes that the Democrats seem to be a "generally unified" party. Ninety-one percent of self-described Democrats and 87 percent of Democrat-leaning independents say they will vote for Clinton. In contrast to the Republicans, Democrats of all ilks appear to be largely in agreement about America's place in the world and the problems they face. Where there are real differences, they are often more about semantics than policy. The differences between the Democrats and the Republicans — especially Trump supporters — are far more striking.
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