The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

By Thomas A. Bailey | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHY

THIS BOOK is based partly on an of all published public opinion polls having to do with American foreign affairs from 1935 to June, 1947. The best known of these are conducted by Dr. George Gallup (officially known as the American Institute of Public Opinion), by Mr. Elmo Roper (in Fortune and the New York Herald Tribune), and by the National Opinion Research Center, at the University of Denver and more recently at the University of Chicago. In summarized form these polls and others have been and are being published in the Public Opinion Quarterly. The skeletonized results, which often omit sectional differences, occupational breakdowns, explanatory data, and other significant information, are less valuable than the originals. For present purposes the Gallup polls were consulted either in the newspaper press or in the form of releases to the newspapers sent out by the Gallup organization. In more recent months the author has been receiving these findings directly, through the courtesy of William A. Lydgate , editor of the American Institute of Public Opinion. For the earlier years the San Francisco News helpfully made available its extensive back files of Gallup releases. One must bear in mind that many of the newspapers which subscribe to the service do not publish all of the polls, and often telescope the ones published. Through the generosity of Mr. Elmo Roper the author received and is receiving a complete file of the weekly column which has appeared in the New York Herald Tribune since October, 1944. These in part draw upon information earlier published in the Fortune surveys, which Mr. Roper inaugurated in 1935. The findings of the National Opinion Research Center may be consulted in its special reports, and in the fortnightly Opinion News, which has been published since September, 1943.

No particular effort was made to correlate American reactions with those revealed by polls in foreign countries, although this is a subject that will richly repay inquiry. Other fields that could well be investigated at length have to do with preparedness, sectionalism (the South, Middle West, and Pacific Coast), isolation, ignorance, the attitude of women, and the reactions of various occupational and income groups.

The author is aware of the limitations of polling techniques, but as compared with the older method of trying to assess public opinion through localized newspaper editorials, they mark an incalculable step forward. It is regrettable that students of the social sciences tend to ignore or even scorn the vast body of material gathered by the poll-takers.

The bibliographical guides that follow are for the use of the serious research student. The selected reading list is for the classroom student and the general reader. It represents a distillation from hundreds of titles, most of which are already conveniently arranged in the author's general survey of our diplomatic history.


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL GUIDES

The outstanding bibliography on American diplomatic history in general is Samuel Flagg Bemis and Grace Gardner Griffin, Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States, 1775- 1921 ( Washington, 1935). Harwood L. Childs

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