Public attitudes toward domestic and national security spending, before and after September 11, 2001
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. National security spending (sometimes referred to as defense spending) is often cited as one of the largest obstacles to sufficient support of domestic programs in the United States. A seemingly disproportionate amount of the federal budget is placed on defense policies, at the expense of other social and economic programs. With the sudden drastic increase in public support for national security policy in the wake of September 11, 2001, many domestic policy proponents face even greater obstacles. This study will use preferences for spending as a measure of support for those policies, and explore what the changes occurred in domestic spending preferences post- September 11. The domestic policy arenas included in this study were the environment, education, and healthcare.; Using an ordered logistics regression, spending preferences for these domestic policies were individually regressed against national security spending preferences. Using the year of the survey as the primary control variable, this study compared the domestic spending preferences in 2000 versus 2002, and analyzed whether any change in preference was significantly associated with the post-September 11 timeframe. The other individual characteristics controlled for included sex, age, household income, level of education, and political party identification. After examining the main effects of these variables, they were each interacted with national security spending preferences to determine whether a portion of those effects could be attributed the individual characteristics instead.; The results demonstrated that, in the wake of September 11, national security spending preferences were generally inversely associated with preferences in support of domestic spending, despite actual increases in all spending. This was consistent with previous research that had focused on the Cold War era. The implication for political strategists suggests that to build public attitude in favor of increasing domestic spending, current or proposed levels of national security spending must be perceived as excessive. This will be a particularly difficult challenge in a post- September 11 world.
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