chapter  19
Public Opinion
ByDouglas C. Foyle
Pages 14

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 infl uence. By the late-1980s, scholars had largely turned the AlmondLippmann consensus position on its head.