Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations

Foreign Policy in the Campaign: Attitudes of Elites & the Public

  • Wednesday, December 09, 2015
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • The University Club, 803 State Street, Madison, WI


Registration is closed
Foreign policy issues are already heating up a year before the next election.  The highly partisan debate has reveal sharp differences over such issues as the Iran nuclear agreement and opposing radical Islamic forces between and within the parties and the public.  It is far from certain how these debates will play out in the Congressional action, candidate debates, primary votes and the general election.  Dina Smeltz , Senior Fellow for Public Opinion of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA), is uniquely qualified to analyze the underlying dynamics of the forces at work in reaching decisions.  The CCGA’s annual  Chicago Council Survey, which she directs, systematically develops information on the opinions of both the general public and foreign policy “elites” on compelling issues such a Iran nuclear containment, Cuba, the use of force or diplomacy, etc.  The survey poses the same questions to a nationwide segmented sample of 2,100 individuals and, second, a specialized samples of the “elite” groups that closely follow foreign issues and directly input on high level debate or implementation.  Armed with this information, Smeltz is commenting in various forums and in the media on the underlying forces at play in the great political tests ahead. 

Dina Smeltz joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in February 2012 as Senior Fellow leading their foreign policy public opinion program.   She has over 20 years experience in directing international social, political and foreign policy surveys for the highest level U.S. foreign policy “customers.”  At the Council she leads a staff of five experts and polling consultant firms and writes extended reports and policy briefs on their findings.  

At the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, she was director of research in the Middle East and South Asia division (2001-2007) and director of the European division (1992-2001).  Smeltz conducted over a hundred surveys in these regions and briefed senior government officials on key research findings. Her experience includes mass public and elite surveys, as well as qualitative research. Her writing includes reports on the post-1989 political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe, and European attitudes toward a wide range foreign policy issues including globalization, European integration, immigration, NATO, and European security. She has unique experience dealing with post-conflict situations (informally referred to as a “combat pollster”) in Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Israel-Palestinian Territories, and in Iraq (2003-2005).  For a number of years she also consulted for NGOs on women’s development in Afghanistan, civil society in Egypt, and evaluating voter education efforts in Iraq.  Smeltz has an MA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Pennsylvania State University.

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