Amid G7 summit, most Americans confident in Biden’s handling of world affairs

New ABC News/Ipsos poll shows half say improving relationships with our allies is a top foreign policy priority

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, June 13, 2021

As President Joe Biden gathers with G7 leaders in the United Kingdom, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that nearly three in five Americans have confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs. However, views are a bit more split when it comes to trusting Biden to negotiate on America’s behalf with other world leaders and, specifically, his ability to negotiate with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. While protecting American jobs and safeguarding the country from terrorist attacks are the top foreign policy priorities, according to the public, half say improving relationships with our allies is of utmost importance.

Detailed findings:

1. While most Americans are confident President Biden will do the right thing on the world stage, views of the president’s foreign policy approach are incredibly partisan.

  • Overall, 57% have confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs.
  • When it comes to negotiating with world leaders, views are more evenly split: 52% trust Biden to negotiate on America’s behalf with world leaders and 49% trust him to negotiate with Putin.
  • These relatively even splits – and the slim majority who are confident in the president – are masking some incredibly deep divides by those on either side of the aisle. For example, 91% of Democrats have confidence in Biden to do the right thing globally, compared to just 15% of Republicans.
  • A plurality of Americans (44%) say America’s leadership in the world has gotten stronger under Joe Biden, while around a third (36%) say it has gotten weaker.
  • Here, the partisan gap is particularly striking: just 3% of Republicans say things have gotten stronger, compared to 74% of Democrats.

2. Protecting American jobs and keeping our country safe from terrorist attacks are the top foreign policy priorities in the eyes of the American public.

  • Two-thirds of Americans say “taking measures to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks” and “protecting the jobs of American workers” are the top long-range foreign policy goals (68% and 65%, respectively).
  • A majority also say “reducing the spread of infectious diseases” (58%), “preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction” (57%), and “improving relationships with our allies” (51%) should be given top priority.
  • At the bottom of the list: “promoting democracy in other nations”. Just 16% say this is top priority, and nearly a quarter say this should not be a priority at all.

3. Beyond these issues, there are some significant differences between partisans on what foreign policy initiatives to prioritize.

  • A majority of Democrats and Republicans are in agreement that we must protect the jobs of American workers and keep the country safe from terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction.
  • Beyond that, however, there are wide gaps in what Democrats and Republicans say are top priority.
  • The biggest priority difference between Democrats and Republicans is on “dealing with global climate change”. Seventy percent of Democrats say this should be top priority in the long term, compared to just 11% of Republicans (43% overall rate this as top priority).
  • Another big difference is on “reducing the number of undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S.”. Republicans (74%) are much more likely to cite this as a top priority than Democrats (20%).


About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 11 to June 12, 2021 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 509 general population adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) from the US Census Bureau. Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.19. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs