The views of the American people that should matter when crafting national security policy are not the ephemeral reactions available through quick surveys but rather the steady conclusions that should constrain democratically responsive policymakers. It's useful to keep in mind a distinction by Daniel Yankelovich almost three decades ago between opinion and judgment. Opinions are reactions to events and questions, and the responses to pollsters can vary widely over time and depending on variations in the wording of questions. Judgments come after fuller consideration of the issue, and the responses there tend to be quite stable, regardless of particular wording.
In this regard the Council on Foreign Relations has compiled a multi-national look at public opinion on a wide range of international issues.
Among the findings:
"Contrary to conventional wisdom, the digest suggests substantial consistency in the views of Americans and their counterparts abroad regarding the importance of international law, international institutions, and multilateral cooperation to address global challenges. Far from being insular or obsessed with sovereignty, Americans convey support for internationalist principles and a willingness to compromise for effective multilateral cooperation."Take a look.