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Only 49% Think U.S. Still Needs to Belong to NATO

Less than half of U.S. voters still see a need for the United States to belong to NATO, and most question whether America’s allies in the long-standing alliance will give their full support in Afghanistan and Libya.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters believe America still should belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, formed in 1949 to counter the Communist Soviet Union. Twenty-seven percent (27%) do not see a need for the United States to still belong to the alliance now that the Soviet Union is gone. Twenty-four percent (24%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just 46% hold even a somewhat favorable view of NATO while 37% view the organization unfavorably. Overall attitudes are quite soft as just 7% hold a Very Favorable opinion of the group while 12% express a Very Unfavorable view.  Nearly two-thirds (64%) fall somewhere in between.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats have a favorable view of NATO, while most Republicans (52%) view the alliance unfavorably. Voters not affiliated with either party are almost evenly divided in their assessments.

Only 35% of voters are even somewhat confident that NATO will do all it can to help the United States win in Afghanistan and Libya. Fifty-six percent (56%) do not share that confidence. These findings include nine percent (9%) who are Very Confident NATO will do all it can and 15% who are Not At All Confident of that.

Collectively, these results suggest that skepticism about NATO allies has held steady at least since December 2009.

Retiring U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was highly critical of the defense commitment of the other NATO allies in his farewell remarks to the group late last week.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 12-13, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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