Four-in-ten Americans (40%) now agree with the view that “we should get even with any country that tries to take advantage of the United States” — the lowest number in favor of getting even against other countries in 20 years and sharply down from the 61% who endorsed that sentiment in 2002. The 2002 level marked a 19-point increase from 1999, and was the highest percentage agreeing with this sentiment in the 20-year history of the values survey. But this proved to be a temporary rise in the public’s desire for revenge. Just a year later, 48% supported the idea of getting even with adversaries. There are relatively modest political differences in opinions about whether the U.S. should take revenge on countries that try to take advantage of it. However, this sentiment is shared more widely among people with a high school education or less than among college graduates (46% vs. 29%). In addition, half of those under age 30 feel the U.S. should take revenge, but far fewer of those in other age categories agree (38% of those ages 30 and older). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.