A narrow majority of Americans would support committing US troops to defend Taiwan if China were to invade, a survey said Wednesday.
The study by the Eurasia Group Foundation found that 42 percent of Americans would “somewhat support intervention” to support Taiwan and another 18 percent would “strongly” back intervention.
President Joe Biden has publicly said he would back sending US forces to defend Taiwan, a self-governing democracy and major technology hub which Beijing claims and has not ruled out seizing by force.
The official US position on intervention is one of ambiguity, with the United States — which only recognizes Beijing — focusing on providing weapons to Taiwan for its own self-defense.
Mark Hannah, a senior fellow at the Eurasia Group Foundation, said that support for intervention in Taiwan could be linked in part to the negative image in the United States of China, which has faced wide criticism on issues from trade to human rights.
“China is perceived as a bad actor and there could be a rally-around-the-flag effect if they invaded an island that is democratic and has been a long-term partner of the United States,” he said.
The survey took responses from 1,000 US adults from August 28 to September 6.
It found broad support for Taiwan but Republicans were most likely to back intervention strongly.
Support was flipped on Ukraine with backers of President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party most enthusiastic about the robust US support for Ukraine, which has been criticized by Republican former president Donald Trump.
But in one area that did not entirely mirror political statements, a bipartisan majority of 77 percent said they supported diplomacy with Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The question did not specifically mention a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran which was negotiated by Barack Obama and trashed by Trump.
A full 67 percent of Americans also said they backed direct negotiations with US adversaries “even if they are human rights abusers, dictators or home to terrorist organizations.”
The survey was taken before a bloody weekend assault on Israel by Islamist movement Hamas, which has support from Iran’s clerical leaders.