Foreign policy beliefs and support for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party

Timothy B. Gravelle, Thomas J. Scotto, Jason Reifler, Harold D. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Similar to other recent Canadian elections, foreign policy did not feature prominently in the 2011 federal election campaign. In fact, many doubt Canadian public opinion on international affairs is linked to the actions taken by recent Governments. In this paper, we examine Canadian public opinion toward a range of foreign policy issues and argue that the survey questions measure two latent dimensions —militarism and internationalism. Our survey evidence indicates the existence of an "issue public" which is prepared to endorse military action and is skeptical of human rights and overseas aid programs, and this group is far more supportive of Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative Party than other Canadians. The absence of an elite discussion, either among politicians or between media elites, about the direction of Canadian foreign policy does not prevent the Canadian voter from thinking coherently about questions pertaining to this issue domain and employing these beliefs to support or oppose political parties and their leaders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-130
Number of pages20
JournalCanadian Foreign Policy Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2014


  • Canadian public opinion
  • foreign policy attitudes
  • survey research


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