Critical Masses and Critical Choices: Evolving Public Opinion on Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, and Security

Critical Masses and Critical Choices: Evolving Public Opinion on Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, and Security

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Overview

Critical Masses and Critical Choices examines American attitudes on issues of national and international security. Based on over 13,000 in-depth interviews conducted over a ten-year period, Kerry Herron and Hank Jenkins-Smith have created a unique and rich set of data providing insights into public opinion on nuclear deterrence, terrorism, and other security issues from the end of the Cold War to the present day.  Their goal is to shed light not only on changes in public opinion about a range of security-related policy issues, but also to gauge the depth of the public’s actual understanding of these matters. Prior to this study, the predominant view held that the American people were incapable of articulate and consistent thought on complex political subjects.  This book overturns that notion and demonstrates the sometimes surprisingly cogent positions held by ordinary members of the public on intricate national issues.

The book’s solid data, based on long-term studies, combined with crisp writing and often startling conclusions, will appeal to a wide range of readers: scholars, journalists, and policy makers. Critical Masses and Critical Choices is the definitive account of the change in public perceptions on security threats and reactive strategies from the early 1990s to the post 9/11 period. This broad and highly original study will prove an indispensable tool for policy makers and scholars alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822959342
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 08/28/2006
Edition description: 1
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith is professor of public policy at George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University .

Kerry G. Herron is a research scientist and adjunct professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Objectives, Concepts, and Theories     1
Trends in Nuclear Security Assessments     20
Trends in Policy and Spending Preferences     36
Terrorism     65
Opinion Stability at the Individual Level     94
Mass Belief Structures     123
Making Sense of Public Beliefs and Preferences about Security Policy     160
Research Methodology     179
Questions, Distributions, and Means     183
Notes     221
References     231
Index     241

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