This US-UK Relations PUBLIC REPORT summarizes survey research findings from a nationwide public
opinion poll conducted by the AMS and Emerson College in November of
2018. The poll surveyed a cross-section of Americans ages 18 and older, about
their views of US-UK ties, and more broadly, their perceptions of the Marshall
Scholarship and expertise.
The results show that nearly 2 in 3 Americans say the US-UK relationship is very important.
Furthermore, a majority of Americans believe the relationship is even more important
today than it was five years ago, and, they would like to see a special trade deal created
with the UK upon its predicted departure from the European Union in March 2019.
Exchange between our two countries runs thick. The survey research suggests
connective tissue much deeper than a single set of policies or individual administration.
Young people see culture, sports, and celebrities as the most significant influence on US-UK
ties. Older respondents see political leadership, governments and shared democratic
values as the most important factors bringing the two countries together. For Americans
who have traveled outside the United States, business and corporate ties are perceived
as the second most significant influence on the transatlantic relationship. These
multitudinous ties persist. They should be capitalized on by the British Government to
“reach out to those parts of American society which share our views and values,” as was
urged by the House of Lords in late 2018.
An overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the strength of the US-UK alliance,
support its continued growth and strong trade between our countries. Seventy years
after the Marshall Plan, Americans still see close governments and core democratic
principles – such as equality, liberty, free speech, human rights, and the rule of law – as
The United Kingdom is entering a new and perhaps fragile era. While Americans do not
know what will happen to their ally, the survey research across all age groups suggests
that Americans continue to care. In a period of deep uncertainty for the British public,
they should know that Americans see the ties that bind us as increasingly important, and
they support new opportunities to further this relationship, “here now.”
The main goal of the national poll was to better understand American popular
sentiment regarding the historic alliance between the United States and the
United Kingdom. The survey begins to probe American perception of the
strength of these ties and whether they are driven by shared values such as
democratic norms, cultural expression, military, commercial, or educational ties.
The research contributes to a body of survey research on the special relationship,
including a recent study conducted by the British Council on US-UK cultural
ties in 2018. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of the perceptions,
significance and current day value of transatlantic ties more than 70 years since
the end of World War II.
Dr. Nell Breyer
Association of Marshall Scholars