Increasing evidence of connections between public opinion and U.S. foreign policy-making suggests the importance of determining what influences shape the collective foreign policy preferences of the public. A data set involving repeated measures of public opinion and content analyses of TV news broadcasts before and between opinion surveys is used to estimate the impact of news stories from various sources on opinion. Reported statements and actions by media commentators, allegedly nonpartisan experts, opposition party figures, and popular (but not unpopular) presidents have the largest estimated effects, while the impact of other sources is negligible. Despite ideas about the two presidencies and the like, the process of shaping opinion on foreign policy does not appear substantially different from that affecting domestic policy preferences. Some implications for the democratic control of foreign policy are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations