Print Сite this

Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills

Abstract

This work in writing will conduct a review and analysis of the public opinion polls about the importance of the attitude of public preference of citizens toward a specific public policy. This work will compare several opinion polls published since 2000. Examined will be Canada’s war in Afghanistan as the specific public policy in the work.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Introduction

This work in writing will conduct a review and analysis of the public opinion polls about the importance of the attitude of public preference of citizens toward a specific public policy. This work will compare several opinion polls published since 2000. Examined will be Canada’s war in Afghanistan as the specific public policy in the work. The paper is focused on reviewing and analysis of the public opinion polls about the importance of the attitude “public preference”. Therefore, public opinion is often regarded as the key indicator of politicians’ actions and decisions. Moreover, these studies are performed for defining the possible size of the electorate.

Canadian Public Opinion Polls

Reported in the 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll entitled “Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada” is the fact that there is a growing number of Canadians who are “voicing opposition to the country’s military commitment in Afghanistan” (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)1. It is additionally reported that of the 1,007 Canadian adults surveyed, 39% of respondents support the military operation involving Canadian soldiers, and 56% are opposed to the military operation involving Canadian soldiers. (Ayres, 2003) When Canadians were asked, what they thought would be the most likely outcome of the Afghanistan war answers were given in figure 1.

When Canadians were asked about the media’s delivery of news in the Afghanistan conflict 51% of respondents stated that the media “has provided the right amount of attention to Afghanistan” and 22% believe it “has been too little” with 15% of respondents reported stating “it has been too much.” (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)2 Only one out of every four Canadians or 27% state that the right amount of information has been forthcoming from the Canadian government about the Afghanistan war and 53% state that it has been too little information. (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)3There is reported to be very little confidence on the part of Canadians that U.S. President Barack Obama “will be successful” in the plans he has outlined for Afghanistan. A reported 36% are reporting as being “moderately confidence that the Obama Administration will be able to ‘finish the job’ and 54% report having very little if any confidence. It is reported by the Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll results that these numbers have remained steady since December.4

In December 2010 the Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll entitled “Canadians Divided on Assuming Non-Combat Role in Afghanistan” results in a state that in a sample of 2,023 Canadian adults “more than half of respondents oppose the military operation involving Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan” a little more than a third are reported to support the mission while in Quebec 48% of individuals opposed the war. More likely to support the wars are Albertans (19%) and Atlantic Canadians (18%). (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)5 Canada’s military mission is planned to finish in July 2011; nevertheless, it is known that in accordance with the government’s message, up to 950 soldiers will stay in Afghanistan until 2014. Their assignment will be to train Afghan soldiers. Up to 44 of Canadian citizens consider this decision as appropriate, while 44% disagree with this decision. Additionally, it is reported that 62% of Albertans, as well as 44% of British Columbians, adopt this governmental solution. (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)6 (Burnstein, 2003)

The Thermostatic Model

According to the Thermostatic Model of Soroko and Wlezien “the representation of public opinion presupposes that the public actually notices and responds to what policymakers do. It means that the public must acquire and process information about policy and adjust its preferences accordingly.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)7 Without the response of the public, there would not be any motivation for policymakers to “represent what the public wants in policy” and furthermore, the preferences of the public would have little meaning. (O’Neill, 2009) The basis for keeping policymakers under control is not essential, though, if the preferences of the citizens are known, this will keep policymakers motivated for representing public interests. The public response according to this theoretical framework serves much as a thermostat and policymakers’ response is according to the public’s ‘temperature’ or response to the policy. (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)8

The Augus Reid Public Opinion Poll relates that three out of five respondents to the poll who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2008 federal election or 62% state support for the non-combat mission and in addition 51% of Green Party voters and 50% of Liberal Party voters support the non-combat mission. However, those who voted for the Bloc Quebecois or the New Democratic Party (NDP) are 68% and 55% more likely to oppose the troops in a non-combat role following July 2011, respectively. (2010)9

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

When respondents in the poll were asked if they believe that Canada did the right thing in sending military forces to Afghanistan, 32% state that they do think Canada did the right thing while 45% do not think Canada did the right thing. 53% of respondents state that they have a clear view of what the issue of the Afghanistan war is. (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)10 (Raphael and Brown, 2010)

Examination of Public Preference and Policy Decisions

Most individuals are reported to not have “specific preferred levels of policy in most policy areas” and this is stated to be true for at least two reasons: simple precise options do not exist in most policy domains and most policy objectives are not adequately captured by simple categorical items, but rather by ranges of support or opposition. The second reason is that policy will often be far too complex for individuals to prefer – independent of current policy – a specific level of policy. (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)11 There are stated to be “very few domains in which we can reasonably expect people to have preferences for a specific level of policy. “There are apparently dichotomous policy choices where specific preferences might be more likely…” includes such as “abortion policy or desegregation, or school busing.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)12

As it is stated by Soroko and Wlezien (2007):

A vertical division of powers, or decentralization, makes it more difficult for the public to gauge and react to government policy change, and thus dampens public responsiveness; and, (2) a horizontal concentration of powers, or parliamentary government, makes politicians less responsive to changes in public opinion.13

Canadian Politics

The work of Duane Bratt entitled “Mr. Harper Goes to War: Canada, Afghanistan and the Return of ‘High Politics’ in Canadian Foreign Policy” writes that foreign policy was “noticeably absent…during the January 2005 federal election campaign. Yet by the spring of 2006, Afghanistan had suddenly emerged as Canada’s biggest foreign policy debate since the Canada-US free trade debate of 1987-88.” (Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010) The divisions over the Afghanistan mission were deep and reported to be “between, and within, Canada’s political parties.” (Bratt, 2007)14

Bratt reports that political scientists who specialize in international relations are reported to have “long distinguished between high politics and low politics. High politics are reported to be “issues relating to military, security, defense relations between states” while low politics are stated to be such as “economic, social, demographics, and environmental relations between states and non-state actors.” (Bratt, 2007)15

Bratt states that key foreign policy over the last 40 years in Canada indicates an emphasis on “low politics” and according to Denis Stairs “Canada’s real foreign policy- grounded in deeply rooted constituency interests, the foreign policy that drives out other foreign policies whenever those other policies get in the way,– is Canada’s economic foreign policy.” (Bratt, 2007)16

We will write a custom
essays
specifically
for you!
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More

It is stated that preferences are indicated to react to change in the area of defense spending and that preferences for defense spending “increased dramatically in the late 1970s and peaked in 1980. (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007) As spending decreases in the 1990s “net preferences for policy begin to rise again. This increase in preferences continues through 2000. Spending then shifts upward dramatically following 911 however, data shows that support for defense spending decreased beginning in 2004. (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)17 Defense preferences are stated to illustrate a “thermostatic relationships between public preferences for spending and spending itself. When spending increases net preferences for spending decrease shortly thereafter. Likewise as spending decreases, net preference for spending increases shortly thereafter.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)18

Bratt states that before September 11, 2001, one of the few places in the world lacking a Canadian connection was Afghanistan and in fact diplomatic relations with Afghanistan were not established by Canada until 1968 since there were few immigrants from Afghanistan living in Canada. Canada’s engagement with Afghanistan took place for two reasons: (1) the 9/11 terror attacks were viewed as an attack on the Western world as a whole; and (2) the invasion of Afghanistan was supported by Canada’s three primary allies, the U.S., the U.N. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)19

As the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1368 which “declassified the terrorist attacks as a threat to international peace and security and recognized the ‘inherent right of individual or collective self defense’ and NATO invoked Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty all member countries became obliged to assist the United States “with all means necessary” and this included Canada. (Sobel, 2001) Canada has made three primary decisions in relation to its commitment in Afghanistan according to Bratt, which include the first decision was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The Chrétien government, in October 2001, deployed its special forces unit, the JTF-2, and 750 ground troops from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to assist US efforts in killing and capturing Al-Qaeda and Taliban members. This was not a peacekeeping mission like Cyprus or the Golan Heights. It was not even a more robust second-generation peacekeeping mission like Bosnia or Somalia. This was a war. This was the first time since the Korean War of the early 1950s that Canadian troops were deployed into an explicit ground war. While these were the only Canadian Forces (CF) in Afghanistan, there were additional naval and air surveillance assets stationed in the Arabian Sea. In total, Canada deployed almost three thousand soldiers in response to the 9/11 attacks. (Raney, 2009)

The second decision occurred in February 2003 when the Chrétien government sent 1700 ground troops to Kabul as part of NATO’s International Stabilization Assistance Force (ISAF). Their mandate was to provide security assistance to the interim Afghan government and prepare for Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

The third decision occurred in May 2005 when the Martin government announced the withdrawal of its forces from Kabul and their re-deployment in Kandahar in February 2006. The CF would form one of the provincial reconstruction teams that would be assigned to different NATO countries and would be spread out across Afghanistan. Since Kandahar was the most dangerous province, the CF was also given significantly enhanced combat responsibilities. (Bratt, 2007)20

The 3-D Approach

According to Bratt, “The Canadian government has been using the 3-D approach as the instrument to address the situation in Afghanistan. The 3-D approach involves the co-ordination of the Department of Foreign Affairs (diplomacy), Department of National Defense (defense), and the Canadian International Development Agency (development).” 21 The 3-D approach involves the concept of ‘three-block warfare’ and according to Bratt “On the first block of the three-block war, we will deliver humanitarian aid or assist others in doing that. Then, we will perform stabilization or peace support operations. (Manza and Cook, 2002) On the third, we will be engaged in a high-intensity fight.” (Bratt, 2007)22 According to Bratt this means that Canada “must be ready to conduct these operations simultaneously and very close to one another…must be prepared to conduct them in large urban centers and complex terrain.” (Bratt, 2007)

According to Bratt, the attacks that occurred on 911 explain why Canada went to Afghanistan in the beginning but fail to explain why Canada has remained in Afghanistan. Bratt reports that according to Ottawa “Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan as a part of UN-sanctioned mission to help build a stable, democratic and self-sufficient society.” (Bratt, 2007) Bratt reports that this has broadened into three goals with are intertwined. Those specific goals involve assisting the government of Afghanistan and its people to build a stable, peaceful and self-sustaining democratic country. The second goal is to provide the people of Afghanistan with the hope for a brighter future by establishing the security necessary to promote development, and to defend Canadian interests at home and abroad by preventing Afghanistan from relapsing into a failed state that provides a safe haven for terrorists and terrorist organizations. (Bratt, 2007)23

Public responsiveness by domain is addressed and it is stated that the overall conclusions “change very little when we look at public responsiveness in each individual domain: public responsiveness is till pervasive, across policy domains and countries.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)24

Need a
100% original paper
written from scratch

by professional
specifically for you?
308 certified writers online
Learn More

In 2009, it was reported that two out of three Canadians state a belief that “a surge of more than 30,000 extra U.S. troops will not win the war in Afghanistan.” (O’Neill, 2009)25 The poll was conducted for Canwest News Service and it is reported by Global National that 66% “disagree that the buildup of U.S. troops in Afghanistan with NATO forces, including Canada will ultimately create a military victory over the Taliban.” (O’Neill, 2009)26 The poll reflects three factors: Afghanistan’s reputation for resisting outsiders, the experience of Vietnam and other wars, and failure by public authorities to clearly define a victory over the Taliban. (O’Neill, 2009)27 It is reported that the poll was taken “during intense debate on Parliament Hill over whether senior government and military officials ignored warnings in 2006 – 2007 about a risk of torture of Taliban suspects taken captive by Canadian Forces and Transferred to Afghan authorities.” (O’Neill, 2009)28 According to O’Neill it is stated that the belief exists that “there is no impact from that debate on public opinion about the winnability of the war and a separate recent poll showed 92 percent support for Canadian Forces, an increase from the summer. About 2,800 Canadians are serving in Afghanistan.” (O’Neill, 2009)29

It is stated that one important way that the conclusion change so little when public responsiveness is considered in each individual domain is because “public responsiveness is still pervasive, across policy domains and countries.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)30 Feedback does however across domains and this is stated to occur in systematic ways.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)31 It is reported that there is a difference in countries in their responses to spending on defense as well as for the “set of domestic domains taken together” and this is stated to be “satisfying and important.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)32 Findings are also stated to “hint at some real differences across policy domains and countries. For example, that responsiveness to defense spending is much less in Canada than in the United States and the United Kingdom may reflect the comparatively low salience of that domain in Canada. That responsiveness to domestic spending also is lower in Canada may reflect the high level of provincial autonomy there.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)33

This is evidenced in a poll conducted in 2009 entitled “Britain, Canada, Differ from the U.S. on Afghan War” which reports that 53% of respondents in Britain and 52% of respondents in Canada are in opposition to the military operation in Afghanistan. In contrast, 55% of Americans support the military operation in Afghanistan. The precise percentages are illustrated in Figure 2.

Summary and Conclusion

Federalism is stated to offer an explanation for the differences in feedback “at different levels of salience.” (Soroko and Wlezien, 2007)34 There is a difference in feedback on Canadian education and environment and U.S. crime. There is reported to be more to federalism “than simply the proportion spent by the national government” since there are other factors to consider. The thermostatic model provides an explanation for the changes in public opinion concerning public policy decisions.

Bibliography

Ayres, Philip. “Policy from the People.” IPA Review, 2003.

Bratt, Duane (2007) Mr. Harper Goes to War: Canada, Afghanistan and the Return of High Politics in Canadian Foreign Policy. 2007.

Burnstein, Paul. “The Impact of Public Opinion on Public Policy: a Review and an Agenda.” Political Research Quarterly 56, no. 1 (2003): 29.

Manza, Jeff, Fay Lomax Cook. Navigating Public Opinion: Polls, Policy, and the Future of American Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

O’Neill, Juliet (2009) Most Canadians Think Surge Won’t Win Afghan War: Poll. Web.

Raney, Tracey. “As Canadian as Possible. under What Circumstances? Public Opinion on National Identity in Canada outside Quebec.” Journal of Canadian Studies 43, no. 3 (2009): 5.

Raphael, Dennis, Ivan Brown, “How Government Policy Decisions Affect Seniors’ Quality of Life: Findings from a Participatory Policy Study Carried out in Toronto, Canada.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 92, no. 3 (2010): 190.

Sobel, Richard. The Impact of Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam: Constraining the Colossus. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. 2007. Web.

Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada. Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll. A Vision Critical Practice. 2001. Web.

Appendix

Figure 1

A clear victory by U.S. and NATO forces over the Taliban 8%
A negotiated settlement from a position of U.S. and NATO strength that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government 31%
Believe that the Taliban will play a significant role in Afghanistan following the war 15%
Believe U.S. and NATO forces will be defeated by the Taliban 13%

(Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll, 2010)35

Figure 2

Support for the Military Involvement in Afghanistan

Canada USA Britain
Support 43% 55% 39%
Oppose 52% 35% 53%
Not Sure 5% 9% 9%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll (2010)36

Endnotes

  1. Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada. Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll. A Vision Critical Practice. 2001. Web.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007 Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. Web.
  8. Ibid
  9. Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada. Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll. A Vision Critical Practice. 2010. Web.
  10. Ibid
  11. Ibid
  12. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. Web.
  13. Ibid
  14. Bratt, Duane (2007) Mr. Harper Goes to War: Canada, Afghanistan and the Return of High Politics in Canadian Foreign Policy. Web.
  15. Ibid
  16. Ibid
  17. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. Web.
  18. Ibid
  19. Ibid
  20. Bratt, Duane (2007) Mr. Harper Goes to War: Canada, Afghanistan and the Return of High Politics in Canadian Foreign Policy. Web.
  21. Ibid
  22. Ibid
  23. Ibid
  24. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. Web.
  25. O’Neill, Juliet (2009) Most Canadians Think Surge Won’t Win Afghan War: Poll. Web.
  26. Ibid
  27. Ibid
  28. Ibid
  29. Ibid
  30. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. . Web.
  31. Ibid
  32. Ibid
  33. Ibid
  34. Soroko, Stuart N. and Wlezien, Christopher (2007) Degrees of Democracy: Government Institution and the Opinion-Policy Link. Web.
  35. Ibid
  36. Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada. Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll. A Vision Critical Practice. 2010. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2022, February 16). Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2022, February 16). Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills. https://studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/

Work Cited

"Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills." StudyCorgi, 16 Feb. 2022, studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/.

* Hyperlink the URL after pasting it to your document

1. StudyCorgi. "Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills." February 16, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/.


Bibliography


StudyCorgi. "Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills." February 16, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2022. "Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills." February 16, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/review-and-analysis-of-the-public-opinion-pills/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Review and Analysis of the Public Opinion Pills'. 16 February.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.