1. Want to disengage from world affairs
to have the
3. Oppose multilateralism
4. Do not want to make altruistic sacrifices
1. Support for "active involvement” unchanged
2. Belief in multilateralism and UN strong
3. Highly supportive of foreign aid
1. polls are worthless
2. I don't believe it
3. hypothetical opinions differ from actual choices
1. Congress listens to the vocal public, not public opinion
2. Activist groups are still committed to other policies (vocal public)
3. Intensity of public not strong v. intensity of activists
4. Media sees Congress as 'mirror' of public opinion
5. Bias of anecdotal evidence
6. Already believe the public is ignorant
7. Many officials and FPIG hold different views that public
8. Genuine isolationists like the myth
1. Conventional wisdom: public opposition to high casualties led to the pullout
2. While the public favored withdrawals when administration & Congress did, they continued to approve of the mission in general.
drops in support for the missions occurred before the
1. Public is 'moody'
2. Lacks consistent or structured beliefs
1. Volatile public finding was incorrect
2. Public has consistent preferences; stable views; responsive in consistent ways
3. Public opinion is collectively stable, structured and responsive to information
support was strong in 1965-67, with a majority favoring
But support was equally strong to turn the ground war over to SV with: 71% favoring this in Nov 1966, 73% in April 1967, 77%in Feb 1968 (after Tet Offensive)
A majority did not favor immediate withdrawal.
Know's" are common
2. Those polled often lack basic facts:
In 1964, in
one poll, only 38% of people knew that the
1980s, it took almost 2 years before a majority of those polled knew that the
Misers; no need to accumulate information
4. Responds to international changes:
outbreak the Korean War in June 1950, a majority v. a minority of the public
5. Take cues from experts to form opinions
1. JFK, LBJ, RMN all developed increasingly extensive polling operations
2. By Nixon, over 233 private polls were conducted costing $3.9 million (1994 dollars)
3. Evidence of impact on policy is still mixed; little direct evidence that LBJ followed polls as opposed to expert advise
1. Once Nixon began withdrawals, data shows that a 1% rise in opinion that withdrawal was too slow yielded an increase (488 more) in troops witdrawn a month later.
For every 1% change in support for (or opposition to) increased spending there is about a $0.33 billion increase (or decrease) in defense spending.
politicians ‘read’ public opinion? Does Congress create pressure on executive via
responses to ‘loud’ constituents
gov official responding to the same trends that
public observes (e.g., increase in Soviet defense spending prompted rise in US
3. Matters for understanding the CNN Effect:
- is public interest generating gov. response?
- or is media generating public interest?
- does media create public interest, or reflect what public prefers?
is gov. anticipating change in
4. Little evidence that CNN effect exists
- gov action precedes media coverage
- media follows gov't role
- public attention increases with media coverage, and observers draw a spurious correlation
1. Realists believe that president had an obligation to lead the public in supporting foreign policy endeavors.
such leadership, support for
3. Example: JFK sought to lead the public during his 1960 presidential campaign to support foreign aid; used polls to assemble package of programs that public would respond to favorably.
1964, before the
7% of Americans supported
of the public opposed
job approval ratings tend to improve following a use of force
2. Public is "pretty prudent" about the use of force
* One study looking at 38 uses of force and so-called displays of force between 1950 and 1988 found that the rally effect was stronger when the intervention was intended to deter or restrain actions by another state than when the intervention was aimed at altering internal conditions in another country.
* The study found that when a use of force was reported on the front page of The New York Times the presidential approval rating rose 6% more than when the event was inside the paper.
* The relatively slight effect was evidence that the public "pretty prudent" about presidential uses of force.
* An early study found that the higher a president's approval ratings, the more likely the president was to use force.
* Others found that poor economic indicators predict presidential use of force. In the 1949-1994 period, Reps presidents were more likely to use force when unemployment was high and Dems when inflation was high. Other studies have confirmed the role of unemployment, especially.
1. Because of information asymmetries and secrecy, president can withhold information or mislead the public to gain support behind policies
fails to disclose all facts around the
During the 1990-91 Gulf War, Bush adm
found that public was very concerned about possibility that
4. Clinton Administration twice used force timed near politically embarrassing events:
Aug 98 Airstrikes
Dec. 98 Airstrikes