The Domestic and Foreign Policy Beliefs of American Leaders


Journal Article

The relationship between our leaders’ beliefs about domestic and foreign policy issues has generated a lively controversy. Much of the existing literature indicates that there is a very limited correlation between them. This article is based on data derived from a 1984 survey in which 2,515 American leaders filled out and returned a lengthy mail questionnaire. Respondents are classified according to their positions on both foreign policy scales (hard liners, internationalists, isolationists, accommodationists) and domestic policy scales (economic liberals, social liberals, economic conservatives, social conservatives). The data reveal a strong and consistent relationship between domestic and foreign policy beliefs. Analyses of the leaders’ background attributes indicate that ideology, party, and occupation are strongly correlated with both sets of beliefs, whereas education, age, military service, travel experience, and gender are weakly related to beliefs. The conclusion raises some questions about the implications of the findings. © 1988, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Holsti, OR; Rosenau, JN

Published Date

  • January 1, 1988

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 248 - 294

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-8766

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0027

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022002788032002002

Citation Source

  • Scopus