Leah Matchett

Department of Political Science

Soft on Defense: How Americans Make Judgments on Candidate Hawkishness

My research examines how the American public makes judgements of strength on defense among American political candidates. previous work suggests that the hawkishness of a candidate affects public support for them, but we have little idea of how these judgements are made. I compare how a candidate’s demographics, experiences, and policy statements interact to affect public judgements of their strength on defense. I find that candidates experiences and policy statements are important, with the most significant effects being a candidate’s stance on the defense budget and significant military service. Other policy stances and more minimal military service has smaller or even a null effect on citizen’s judgements of candidate strength on defense.