2. Domestic Factors in Foreign Policy: The findings of public opinion
a. Course Review of Poll Information from Vietnam era, 1980s, Gulf War of 1990-91. A series of graphics of polls on events from throughout the course were shown and briefly the class was reminded of the major points they illustrated.
b. General Propositions:-crises are not business as usualc. Political Scientistsí theses about Public Opinion and Foreign Policy in the 1990s
-Vietnam Syndrome: avoid long wars, as public support once waned.
-Rally Round the Flag Syndrome: support rises during international crises, but can be fleeting-John Mueller, in The National Interest, 1997: mass public disconnected from foreign policy
-S.P. Huntington, in Foreign Affairs, 1997: opinions of attentive public differ from wider public; attentive publics often advance "non-national" interests
d. Polls on the 1999 Kosovo War
e. Polls on the War Against Terrorism
John Riley's findings (Foreign Policy,
Sp 99) was given substantial attention:
Public, leaders both supported internationalism:-isolationism down 12% to 7% of publicSome pessimism was found:
-96% leaders, 61% public favored active U.S. role
-71% leaders, 79% public forsaw role to grow in 10 yrs-53% public expected 21st Century to be more violent, but only 23% of leaders concurredPessimism reinforced reluctance about military intervention
-84% public saw international terrorism as #1 problem, up from 69% in 1994-Plurality of public favored use of force only to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion; on no other hypothetical did public favor force be used.Public: Multilateralism favored over U.S. going it alone; Peacekeeping participation supported; most alliances supported.
-Leaders, contrarilly, favored military intervention in crisis in: Israel, Kosovo, Poland, S.Arabia, S.Korea, or Taiwan.
-However, in 1999 The U.S. Public strongly favored use of force to fight terrorism:74% favored air strikes at bases
57% favored use of ground troops
54% favored assassination of terrorist leaders, though only 34% of leaders favored this
-Iraq: Leaders (79%) would support military intervention if Saudi Arabia were invaded; 46% public would
Leaders: Support globalization (87%); public: (54%).
Qs overall: Are you aware of the Kosovo story? Approve/Disapprove Clinton Decision? Was War a Mistake? If bombing doesnít work, should US use Ground Troops if that is what is required to win even if it means US casualties?
Q. Are you aware of the Kosovo story?April 18: 27% do not know where war is, even though 84% had heard of capture of US soldiers
June 11: 80% say they are following story closely or very closely; 19% say they are NOT following story closely or at all.
Q. Approve/Disapprove Clinton handling of war?April 14: 53 yes, 32 noQ. Was War a Mistake?
April 22: 55 yes, 32 no
May 11: 49 yes, 37 no
June 10: 55 yes, 35 no
June 23: 51 yes, 39 no (after war is won)April 14: 33% yes, 55% noQ. Should US use Ground Troops?
May 20: 47% yes, 45% no
June 3: 51% yes, 42% noApril 14: 45% yes, 46% no1999 Attitudes toward the Post War Situation
April 21: 38% yes, 51% no
April 26: 75% yes, 19% no
May 16: 52% yes, 46% no
June 3: 27% yes, 60% no
Q4. Would you Support U.S. Troops as Peacekeepers after the end of hostilities?April 16, 1999: 60% yes, 29% no
June 6, 1999: 71% yes, 27% no
May 21, 2000 Attitudes toward the Post War Situation, one year later
Q.How important do you think what happens in each of the following countries is to the United States today--would you say it is vitally important, important but not vital, not too important, or not at all important?) How about what happens in... Kosovo?
Vitally important - 19%
Important, but not vital - 46
Not too important - 23
Not at all important - 7
No opinion - 5
Our fleeting attention: The only further Q in the Roper Index was One Question, January 2001, and that was about how closely people are following the risk to US soldiers of depleted uranium weapons in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Presidential Job Approval Ratings in chart above (for dates, poll source, and more information go here)
This rise in Presidential support clearly reflects support of the underlying policy, i.e. of going to war:
Sept. 11: 92% support going to war
Sept. 13: 86% support using military force
Sept. 25: 83% support getting into a war
Oct . 20: 78% support using missiles on Afghanistan
Oct. 31: 83% support action being taken in Afghanistan
College education 84
National Average 80
High School educ 75