Public Opinion

Authored by: Douglas C. Foyle

Routledge Handbook of American Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415800884
eBook ISBN: 9780203878637
Adobe ISBN: 9781135967352


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Scholarly interest in the relationship between public opinion and American foreign policy has now moved into a third distinct stage. In the 1950s and 1960s, scholars mostly dismissed the public’s attitudes as a shaky foundation on which to build a foreign policy given its vacillating character. Labeled the “Almond-Lippmann consensus” (Holsti 1992), the relationship between public opinion and foreign policy received little attention as it was presumed that the national interest, rather than public attitudes, drove foreign policy formulation. A second wave of research emerged in the aftermath of the Vietnam War which led to a reevaluation of both public opinion and its influence. By the late-1980s, scholars had largely turned the Almond-Lippmann consensus position on its head.

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