Abstract: Why is the confidence of the American public in its military so high? What does it matter for policymaking and politics? Most of what we already know about this topic comes either from standard surveys designed with other purposes in mind or from older studies conducted in the pre-9/11 era. Along with my co-author, Jim Golby (UT-Austin) I have collected new data from two large surveys of the American public using instruments designed to probe the determinants and consequents of public confidence in the military. The issue is of particular interest in our current polarized environment as political actors from both parties seek to wrap themselves in the mantle of public respect for the military. The issue came to a head as pundits speculated on a role for the one political institution still enjoying high public confidence in resolving the conflict that arose over the contested presidential electoral result.
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