Chapter 5, Public Opinion and Conflict

Chapter 5, “Public Opinion and Conflict,” by Christopher Gelpi

This chapter explores the connections between public opinion and international conflict, and especially the determinants of public support for war.  These questions have long been of central interest to international relations and political science more broadly, becoming even more salient since 2001 because of the American engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The chapter provides students with the essential tools needed to understand these questions.  It starts with an introduction to polling techniques and fundamental theories of opinion formation. The chapter next works through the central debates about the determinants of support for war, focusing on how casualty levels and perceptions of the likelihood of victory affect support.  The chapter includes a case study and summary of a quantitative study that focus on public opinion during the Iraq War.

Most appropriate for classes on war and politics, and public opinion.

What makes this chapter different:

●Only chapter on the market providing comprehensive, compact, cutting edge discussion of public opinion and war
●Extensive discussion of the crucial Iraq War case
●Approachable writing style, no statistics or quantitative background necessary

Dr. Christopher Gelpi is Professor and Chair of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the Ohio State University.   He is the author of several leading articles on public opinion and conflict, as well as coauthor of the award-winning Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts (Princeton, 2009).

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