New poll: America believes in Special Relationship more than Britain

Sep 21, 2021

 

Americans believe more strongly that the UK-US alliance is a “Special Relationship” than Britons, according to new polling commissioned by Policy Exchange.

Among 1712 British voters, YouGov found that only 28 per cent believe the US-UK alliance is a “special relationship” with a much bigger group – 52 per cent ­– saying no, the US-UK alliance is not really a “Special Relationship”. 

However, in the United States, polling of 1000 people by Echelon Insights discovered that a much greater percentage of Americans believe in the Special Relationship. 

Six in ten Americans believe the UK and US does have a special relationship and that the US-UK relationship has been a force for good in the world. 

In a commentary for Policy Exchange and the Daily Mail, Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, said:

“The Echelon Insights/YouGov poll commissioned by the Policy Exchange think tank points to a surprising change in the relationship. Despite the transatlantic tensions of Donald Trump’s presidency and the widespread expectation that the Irish-American Joe Biden would give Old Etonian Boris Johnson short shrift, the ‘special’ relationship seems to have become more special to Americans than to us.

“In all, 59 per cent of Americans regard the UK as an important ally, compared with just 43 per cent of Britons who feel the same about the U.S. Again, 59 per cent of Americans think the U.S. and UK have a special relationship in Winston Churchill’s sense of the term, compared with just 28 per cent of Britons.”

What Americans believe…

In the US, the “Special Relationship” transcends party and ideology, with strong majorities of right-leaning conservatives (58%) and left-leaning liberals (67%) saying that the US-UK relationship is in fact a “special relationship” – and with two-thirds of conservatives (67%) and liberals (66%) saying that special relationship has been a force for good.

Most Americans think the UK is an important ally and that this is the way it should be. 59% say the UK is an important ally and slightly more (63%) say they should be. This is an extremely bi-partisan view, as Republicans and Democrats each hold nearly the same views on both questions. Additionally, nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) also believe the UK needs the support of the US either a little or a lot.

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What Britons believe…

54% of Britons believe that when the United States has strong cooperation from allies like the UK, the UK is more safe, as opposed to just 8% who believed it was less safe.

Twice the number of Britons (34%) believed that the US-UK alliance has been a force for good, compared to 17% of Britons who thought it was negative.

Britons also worry about the rise of China, with only 3% of voters believing that the UK would be more safe if China were to become a superpower. 66% believed the UK would be less safe in that scenario. 

Notably, Britons still view the United States as a superpower (45%) with the second largest group (23%) saying it is a second-tier power. In the United States, four-in-ten Americans think the US is a superpower.

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