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University Events

Panel Discussion on Terrorism and Security

November 7, 2013
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location: Mary Tefft White Center, University Library
  • Open to the Public

The Department of Politics and International Relations presents a panel discussion on terrorism and security — "Making Doves of Hawks: Public Opinion on Terrorism and War Under Conditions of Hyper-Polarization." A presentation by Dr. Joshua J. Dyck, Director of the Umass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, and a panel discussion featuring Dr. Joseph Roberts, Dr. Tad Kugler, Dr. Annika Hagley and Dr. June Speakman. Part of the enduring interest in the study of public opinion is that the information environment is dynamic. New issues emerge and the public must contend with ideas and debates they have not previously grappled with. What motivates issue development in American politics as new issues emerge? A great deal of research has addressed the underlying correlates of attitude development and a predictable host of characteristics has emerged: party identification, ideology, group-interests and cue-taking behavior all predict individual attitude formation with some certainty. In most cases, these correlates of opinion are also positive correlated. The Democratic and Republican Party coalitions tend to be made up of those with identifiable group characteristics and/or ideological notions, and one-sided information tends to be reinforced by elite cues. However, sometimes these ideas do not line up given posturing towards those who control the reins of government. What happens when ideological predispositions do not line up with elite cues? Do ideologues stay true to their belief structures or do they follow elite opinion? Using data from an original survey of Americans’ attitudes on war, terrorism, privacy and security, we find that Americans are often constrained more by their partisan predispositions and cue-taking than by historical ideological distinctions on issues of security. Elite rhetoric and partisan rancor makes doves of hawks and hawks of doves.