updated 4/4/2007 11:27:27 AM ET 2007-04-04T15:27:27

Americans are expressing growing nervousness about their country’s foreign policy, according to a survey, with about two-thirds saying relations with the rest of the world are on the wrong track.

The poll, completed in March, found that public pessimism extends beyond the war in Iraq. More than eight in 10 respondents said they were worried about the way things are going for the United States in world affairs.

Three quarters of Americans also said they worry about global warming, up from two-thirds percent in September 2006.

The poll included an “anxiety indicator” that calculates the level of angst in the country based on answers to five questions. The indicator registered 137 on a scale of zero to 200, with zero being the most secure and 200 the most anxious. The figure registered in the latest survey moved up seven points since a similar survey in September.

“The Anxiety Indicator is moving closer to the 150 mark, the ‘red zone’ that to me would signal a full-blown crisis of public confidence,” said survey researcher Daniel Yankelovich, chairman of Public Agenda, the nonpartisan public policy institute that released the study Wednesday along with the publication Foreign Affairs.

The indicator reflects data from individual polls about whether respondents worry about the nation’s position in the world, whether they think the country faces increasing dangers abroad, whether U.S. policy is on the wrong track and whether they believe the United States is viewed negatively abroad.

This was the fourth Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index. The first was in June 2005, the second in January 2006, the third in September.

Here are some of the other findings:

  • 82 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States and its people, with 48 percent saying “much more dangerous.”
  • 73 percent say the United States is not doing a good job as a leader in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world, with 34 percent saying it has done a “poor” job.
  • 68 percent believe the rest of the world sees the United States negatively, with 34 percent saying “very negatively.”
  • 61 percent say America’s safety from terrorism does not depend on success in Iraq, and 70 percent say its troops should leave within the next 12 months (19 percent say immediately).
  • 84 percent say “initiating military force only when we have the support of our allies” should be important to our foreign policy, with 51 percent saying “very important.”

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,013 adults between Feb. 21 and March 4. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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