This election year, the issues did not take center stage. The two presidential candidates spent little time talking about real policy issues. The Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate both made efforts to drag the opponent in a scandal from which the campaign would be unable to recover. Whether it was Hillary Clinton’s email controversy or Donald J. Trump’s inappropriate behavior towards women, this presidential campaign saw more talk of issues that are external to the running of the country. Despite the standing of the United States in the world, the two candidates did not spend much time talking about the direction they would take the country in when it came to international affairs. But a recent poll shows that Americans care very much about international policy issues.
Key International Policy Issues during a Presidential Election
The conflict in Syria, that has been going on for five years now, is getting worse. Tensions with Russia are escalating. Also, the Islamic State has spread throughout the region. Regardless of who wins the presidential election in the United States, the next president is going to have a lot of work to do on key international policy issues. The Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate have debate some topics like the conflict in Syria and the fight against ISIS. Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton favored different courses of action when it came to the issues. Donald J. Trump has stressed on numerous occasions the importance of fighting ISIS. But he hasn’t put forward a clear plan on how to do that. Hillary Clinton supports a stronger approach when it comes to putting an end to the conflict in Syria. Whereas, Trump wouldn’t mind working with Russia to fight ISIS together.
Voters choose based on various reasons during an election. One of them is how they would like to see American foreign policy play out in the future. A Critical Issues Poll from the University of Maryland gives insight into how average Americans feel about key international policy issues. The poll was fielded by Nielsen Scarborough. It used a nationally representative sample of 1,528 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.
Americans Feel Most Strongly about ISIS
The Critical Issues Poll sheds light on where Americans stand on key international policy issues. It looks like the number one problem that Americans identified right now is the Islamic State or ISIS. Asked to choose two top priorities among international policy issues, 53 percent of respondents chose fighting ISIS as one of their two priorities.
In terms of policy, they see the United States joining forces with other international powers to fight against ISIS. Even Russia could be one of them, since ISIS is higher up on the list of concerns for Americans. This doesn’t mean that Americans like or trust Russia or its president, Vladimir V. Putin. In fact, it’s the opposite. In an open-ended question, Democrat voters identified Vladimir V. Putin as the most disliked national or world leader. Republican voters first named President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in answer to that same question. Next was North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. And Russian President Vladimir V. Putin came in fourth.
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