July 26, 2016 | By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Democrats Seeing Eye to Eye But Differences Exist

Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her former rival candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, hold up signs on the floor at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Already the theme for the Democratic National Convention this week, the issue of party unity will be center stage following the leak of Democratic National Committee emails and resignation of DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Though protests have taken place outside the convention hall, a new Chicago Council Survey among the American public, conducted June 10-27, 2016, found that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters generally see eye to eye on a range of issues. But there are points of difference:

American Exceptionalism: Core Sanders supporters are much less likely than core Clinton supporters to say that the United States is “the greatest” country in the world because of its unique character (61% vs. 39%).

Global Influence: Sanders supporters are more apt to believe that economic power is paramount to military power in determining the nation’s overall power and global influence (89% vs. 74% core Clinton supporters).

US Leadership Role: Sanders supporters prefer a more circumscribed international role comparatively to Clinton supporters and are inclined to favor the US playing a shared leadership role (83% vs. 64% among core Clinton supporters). However, it would be incorrect to suggest that Democrats are isolationists: a mere five percent of core Sanders and seven percent of Clinton supporters say the US should not play and leadership role in the world.

International Trade: Unlike the Republican base, the Democrats appear to largely be united and in favor of international trade; 71 percent of Clinton and 67 percent of Sanders supporters believe international trade is good for the US economy.

For more details on Clinton and Sanders’ supporters and their views on foreign policy, read the full Chicago Council Survey brief

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

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