Transatlantic Trends Survey

October 2012

The German Marshall Fund has recently released its eleventh Transatlantic Trends Survey. It charts US and European public opinion on a range of transatlantic issues, support for NATO, the economy, and the rise of other world powers.

In the UK, 51% of those polled said they would approve of keeping military spending at current levels and 64%, the highest rate of agreement in Europe, that war is sometimes necessary to achieve justice.
Only 37% of Britons otherwise opposed to military intervention as a means to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons said they would support military action if all other means had failed (nine points below the European average of 46%).
When asked about defence spending, 39% of European respondents wanted it decreased, 46% wanted to keep it at current levels, and only 11% wanted it increased. The UK had the lowest numbers on either side of the Atlantic in favour of reducing defence spending at just 16%.
32% in the US wanted to decrease defence spending, while 45% wanted to maintain current levels and 20% wanted to increase it.

Given an either-or choice between accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or using military force to prevent it, 46% of Europeans said they would support military action, against 57% in the US.
In the UK 49% of people said they would prefer to accept a nuclear-armed Iran rather than go to war. When those who said they would support military action against Iran were asked whether they also supported their own country’s involvement, or the use of their country’s ground troops, support for military intervention dropped.


NATO was seen as ‘still essential’ by 58% of EU respondents. At 71% approval, the UK respondents were among the highest in Europe.

The full article, by Nigel Chamberlain, is at