Recent studies examining the political impact of individuals' connections to the victims of international violence find these ties have a powerful effect on people's attitudes and feelings. How reliable, however, are self-reported claims of ties to a conflict's casualties? Using data from 9/11 and the Iraq War, I examine these claims, analyzing: 1) their influence on both public assessments of foreign policy and voting behavior, 2) whether critical demographic and political factors predict the likelihood of individuals reporting a tie to a conflict casualty, 3) the predicted, aggregate likelihood of survey respondents having connections to conflict victims, and 4) the theoretical distinction between actual vs. perceived casualty connections. The results strongly support the use of casualty connection data for understanding individuals' responses to international violence, and encourage future applications of social network approaches to the study of war and politics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations