Castigating the US electorate as accomplices and facilitators of wars, or, at best, dismissing the voters as ignorant sheep-people (‘sheeple’) herded by political elites, describes a partial reality. Public opinion polls, even the polls overwhelmingly slanted toward the center-right, consistently describe a citizenry opposed to militarism and wars, past and present.
Both the Right and Left have failed to grasp the contradiction that defines US political life: Namely, the profound gap between the American public and the Washington elite on questions of war and peace within an electoral process that consistently leads to more militarism.
This is an analysis of the most recent US public opinion polls with regard to outcome of the recent elections. The essay concludes with a discussion of the deep-seated contradictions and proposes several ways in which these contradictions can be resolved.
A major survey of public opinion, sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest, conducted by the Survey Sampling International, interviewed a sample of one thousand respondents.
The Results: War or Peace
More than half of the American public oppose any increase is the US military role overseas while only 25% back military expansion.
The public has expressed its disillusionment over Obama’s foreign policy, especially his new military commitments in the Middle East,…