American Public Opinion on the Iraq War

Ole R. Holsti

Shifts in public opinion have had an impact on U.S. foreign policy


Ole R. Holsti explores the extent to which changes in public opinion reflected the vigorous public relations efforts of the Bush administration to gain support for the war and the partisanship marking debates over policies toward Iraq. Holsti investigates the ways in which the Iraq experience has led substantial numbers of Americans to reconsider their nation's proper international role, and he assesses the impact that public opinion has had on policymakers. Significantly, Holsti places his findings in a broader context to address the role of public opinion and of the media in democratic governance.

Ole R. Holsti is George V. Allen Professor of Political Science (Emeritus) at Duke University. He is a recipient of the International Society of Political Psychology's Nevitt Sanford Award for distinguished professional contributions to political psychology as well as distinguished lifetime achievement awards from the ISPP and the American Political Science Association. His previous titles with University of Michigan Press are To See Ourselves as Others See Us: How Publics Abroad View the United States after 9/11 (2008) and Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy (revised edition, 2004).

Praise / Awards

  • "An important contribution to the emerging scholarly understanding of public opinion regarding the Iraq conflict, both on its own terms and as a more general case study of American public opinion regarding foreign policy."
    Perspectives on Politics

  • "Holsti’s current analysis is enriched by his long experience in the examination of public opinion and decision-making. ... He refers easily to leadership and decision-making challenges of other eras, and compares how Americans felt about other conflicts. He asks a series of questions that gauge changing American perceptions: were we right to invade... what are criteria for success... was the war in Iraq worth the loss of lives and money?"
    American Diplomacy

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 238pp.
  • 17 tables, 6 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11704-8

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  • $104.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03480-2

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  • $41.95 U.S.

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  • U.S. Public Opinion, Iraq War, U.S. foreign policy, Surveys, Bush administration , Political polls, International Relations