Panel Abstract

Public Opinion and the Politics of Peace Research

This paper will review the authors experience in running public opinion polls on peace processes in Asia (Israel, Palestine, Syria, Kashmir, Sri Lanka) and other countries around the world (Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sudan) with a focus on the politics of their timing, funding, publication and the interests of the commissioning agencies.A nations security, war and peace processes are arguably the most sensitive political issues that pollsters have to deal with and it is to be expected that interested parties will want to manipulate the outcome of such research to meet the needs of their own political agendas. But is this in their ‘true self best interest’ or the best interests of the peoples that they are ultimately responsible for in a democracy? With all these points in mind various approaches to the management and implementation of peace polls will be considered with a view to exploring pragmatic solutions to this delicate political problem.