The Democratic Peace Revisited in the Context of Transnational Threats

37 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 3 Sep 2009

See all articles by George E. Shambaugh

George E. Shambaugh

Georgetown University - Department of Government; Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Richard A. Matthew

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology

Bryan McDonald

University of California, Irvine

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Public perceptions of ongoing security threats and the impact that these perceptions have on the level of support for related policies are mediated by the perceived quality and integrity of information the public receives from the government. Information constraints regarding terrorism and war increase the importance of signals from the government relative to other sources to individuals when assessing these threats and evaluating counter-threat policies. Individuals are, however, critical consumers of information. Rather than uniformly accepting elite signals or partisan cues, members of the public interpret and respond to government signals about ongoing threat differently depending on their perceptions of the objectivity and trustworthiness of the information it provides. We test this argument by analyzing the relationship between political party, ideology, and changes in the level of public trust in the information provided by the government about the war in Iraq on public perceptions of threat and the level of policy support for U.S. policy in Iraq. An analysis of a panel survey of U.S. respondents form 2007 through 2009 demonstrates that the changes in the level of trust in information has a significant impact on perceptions of threat and level of policy support. These effects are independent of political party and political ideology, which have no significant impact on changes in the level of trust, perceptions of threat, or level of policy support.

Suggested Citation

Shambaugh, George E. and Matthew, Richard A. and McDonald, Bryan, The Democratic Peace Revisited in the Context of Transnational Threats (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1449323

George E. Shambaugh (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Government ( email )

680 Intercultural Center
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
202-687-2979 (Phone)
202-687-5858 (Fax)

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-2979 (Phone)

Richard A. Matthew

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology ( email )

226B Social Ecology 1
Irvine, CA 92697
United States

Bryan McDonald

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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