American Foreign Policy Opinion and the Generation Gap: A Media Perspective
Jensen, Micah K
A significant amount of research in the public opinion field has explored the American people's attitudes on American foreign policy and found the course of events, elite discourse, and news media are important predictors of foreign policy opinion. Among these predictors, many researchers agree on the point that media is perhaps the most vital predictor of foreign policy opinion. However, the media industry has changed dramatically over the past few years, especially as it influenced the Millennnial generation. Moreover, the Chicago Council Survey on Global Affairs in 2012 has also shown that there is a generation gap in foreign policy opinion and that young people are less alarmed than older Americans about threats facing the U.S. and less supportive of a military approach to foreign policy. Despite these findings, little research has focused on explaining the relationship between the generation gap in media consumption and the generation gap in foreign policy opinion. I hypothesized that the "virtual world" provides the younger generation weaker social and political constraints; therefore further fostering political tolerance and resulting in young people favoring non-military action over military action and multilateralism over unilateralism. This thesis used probit regression to examine these two relationships and found website or blog usage was not a useful predictor of the probability of supporting military action for both millennials and non-millennials. However, it was a useful predictor of the probability of favoring multilateralism over unilateralism, but only for millennials.
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