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Who's Out of Touch? Media Misperception of Public Opinion on US Foreign Policy

Gift, T; Monten, J; (2020) Who's Out of Touch? Media Misperception of Public Opinion on US Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy Analysis , Article oraa015. 10.1093/fpa/oraa015. (In press).

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Abstract

Although experts in the United States are often criticized as being “out of touch” for failing to understand the political views of average Americans, arguably no group has been more susceptible to this charge than the media. In this article, we exploit unique paired surveys to measure how accurately US foreign policy media experts assess public opinion compared to other foreign policy experts on the critical issue of American engagement in the world. We find that while experts, on average, substantially underestimate how favorable US citizens are toward international engagement, the media is more inaccurate than other types of experts. We suggest potential reasons for these findings that may serve as the basis for future research. Overall, our study contributes to a growing literature on elite misperceptions of the public and underscores the particular inaccuracies of the media in understanding the attitudes of Americans.

Type: Article
Title: Who's Out of Touch? Media Misperception of Public Opinion on US Foreign Policy
DOI: 10.1093/fpa/oraa015
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/fpa/oraa015
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110827
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