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Majority of US opinion leaders favor sending troops to defend Taiwan from Chinese invasion

Public support for boots on ground to defend Taiwan rose from 26% in 2014 to 41% in 2020

USS Ronald Reagan leads formation of Carrier Strike Group 5 ships as USAF B-52 bombers and U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets fly overhead.

USS Ronald Reagan leads formation of Carrier Strike Group 5 ships as USAF B-52 bombers and U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets fly overhead. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A survey released by an American thinktank on Monday (Feb. 1) showed that the majority of American opinion leaders back sending troops to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

On Monday, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released the results of a survey titled the "Division on US-China Policy: Opinion Leaders and the Public." The study found that while there is bipartisan support among opinion leaders for sending troops, support varies by political affiliation on how to deal with China in general, while the American public does not back the use of force.

The survey was carried out on 900 opinion leaders, comprising executive branch officials, congressional staff, think tank scholars, academics, journalists, and interest group representatives.

For the public segment of the survey, 2,111 adults ages 18 and older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were questioned from July 2 to 19. For the opinion leader section, 927 foreign policy opinion leaders were surveyed from Aug. 3 to Sept. 9, 2020.

When asked whether they would favor or oppose deploying troops if China invaded Taiwan, 85 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats, and 58 percent of independents said they are in favor. However, when posed with the same question, only 41 percent of the public voiced support for boots on the ground to defend the island country.

Nevertheless, this is an increase over the 26 percent of the public that supported dispatching the military in such a scenario in 2014.

The biggest schism between Republicans and Democrats is how to deal with China's rise, with 88 percent of Republican leaders and 64 percent of Republican members of the public saying the U.S. should "actively work to limit the growth of China's power."

Conversely, 56 percent of Democratic leaders and 60 percent of Democratic members of the public feel the U.S. should take a "friendly cooperation and engagement" approach toward China. As for independents, 53 percent of leaders and 49 percent of members of the public back limiting the communist country's growing power, while 47 percent of both independent leaders and members of the public opted for "cooperation and engagement."

Updated : 2021-04-21 20:08 GMT+08:00