Jane L. Olson

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jack C. Plano

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert W. Kaufman

Third Advisor

Dr. Roy Olton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



An analysis of the relationships between public policy and public opinion is vital to gaining an understanding and appreciation of the political process in the United States. According to democratic theory, citizens are to be free to express their views on issues and policy decisions. In a representative democracy the elected officials are supposed to carry out the wishes of their constituents. This study is directed toward analyzing the relationships between foreign aid policy and public opinion toward ten selected policy changes which have taken place since World War II. It focuses on the formal foreign aid program; and, therefore, secondary aid such as .contributions to international organizations and isolated programs such as the Social Progress Trust Fund do not fall within the scope of the work. The purpose of the thesis is to prove or disprove the hypothesis by revealing the impact of selected changes in foreign aid policy of the United States on public opinion. This is accomplished by determining the relationships between policy changes and public opinion since World war II. Ten specific policy changes serve as the basis for examining public opinion as measured in national surveys and in an original pilot study carried out in Kalamazoo, Michigan.