Race and Public Opinion on Nuclear Weapons: Looking Beyond America


Jonathan A. Chu is an Assistant Professor of International Affairs and Presidential Young Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He researches public and elite opinion on issues of war, wartime conduct, democracy, and great power competition, and is especially interested in how identities, norms, and values inform these opinions.

Joshua A. Schwartz is a Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and  the Harvard Kennedy School, and a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on questions related to reputation for resolve, gender, weapons of mass destruction, threat credibility, and climate change.

Christopher W. Blair is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University and a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. His research spans international relations and comparative politics, and focuses on civil wars, forced displacement, and public opinion about foreign policy.

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Does public opinion about the use of nuclear weapons depend on the racial identities of the potential victims of such a strike? How are nuclear weapons perceived in countries actually affected by nuclear weapons use?

This research surveys public opinion in a variety of countries, including Japan, the only location of nuclear weapons use in war, toward American nuclear use. It focuses on how publics form their opinions depending on the race of the potential victims of a nuclear strike, the race of the person forming an opinion on the issue, and the interaction of the two.