This paper uses the elections of 1980 to 2004 to illustrate that political candidates from opposing parties face different incentives in mentioning foreign policy during campaigns and in taking foreign policy positions. The paper demonstrates that citizens connect their own foreign policy views clearly to their evaluations of Republican candidates, but these same foreign policy opinions are much less likely to affect evaluations of the Democratic party and Democratic candidates. In addition, this paper reveals another significant asymmetryin a threatening environment, Americans reward candidates and parties perceived to hold hawkish positions but even more severely punish candidates perceived to be dovish. Using two datasets, I find that Americans opinions on defense spending and diplomacy mattered significantly for the type of political leadership the public preferred at election time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science