While President Donald Trump has previously questioned the relevance of NATO, 80% of Americans say the alliance should be maintained. This is up from 64% when Gallup last asked Americans about their views on NATO in 1995, and the highest reading since Gallup first asked the question in 1989.
High U.S. support for NATO in Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, conducted Feb. 1-5, comes after Trump questioned the country’s commitment to the alliance in mid-January, referring to it as “obsolete.” Trump, however, reaffirmed U.S. commitment to NATO when he recently agreed to attend its summit in May. Defense Secretary James Mattis reiterated the country’s commitment to NATO this week but said the U.S. could “moderate its commitment” to the alliance if other countries do not increase their defense spending.
When Gallup first asked Americans about their views on NATO in July 1989, 75% thought the alliance should be maintained. The percentage of Americans supporting the alliance dropped to 62% in May and June 1991, months before the Soviet Union’s formal collapse. Three years later, support for the alliance increased to 70%, but it dipped back down to 64% in 1995 during’s NATO intervention in the Bosnian War.