WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Public opinion in the United States has taken a sharply isolationist turn, according to a new opinion survey by the reputable Pew Research Center.
"The survey finds a striking revival of isolationist sentiment among the general public," says the new report from the center and the Council on Foreign Relations.
"Fully 42 percent of Americans say the United States should 'mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own,'" according to the authors.
This is a sharp increase from the 30 percent of those polled who took that view three years ago, says the survey, and reflects public disquiet about the continuing cost of the Iraq war and growing concerns about domestic policy issues.
Isolationist sentiment has not been so high since the mid-1970s, in the wake of the ill-fated Vietnam War.
Moreover, detailed interviews among eight groups of influential Americans reveals that "they have become less supportive of the United States playing a 'first among equals' role among the world's leading nations.
"The goal of promoting democracy in other nations also has lost ground, and while most opinion leaders view President Bush's calls for expanded democracy in the Middle East as a good idea, far fewer think it will actually succeed."
"Public views of the United Nations have become much more negative over the past four years. Only about half of Americans (48 percent) now express a positive opinion of the UN, down from 77 percent four years ago," it says.