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TRIP Finds Scholars Optimistic about U.S.-Russian Relations

The Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project at William & Mary launched its third snap poll of international relations (IR) scholars today.

 The results, published on, paint a hopeful picture for world affairs. Scholars are optimistic about U.S.-Russian relations, have trust in global financial and health institutions, and support President Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

 On Russia, less than 40 percent of IR scholars believe the world is heading back toward a Cold War. Even fewer believe that war between the U.S. and Russia is likely over the next decade.

 “The fact that IR scholars are pessimistic about open conflict between the U.S. and Russia is a good sign,” said Daniel Maliniak ‘06, a principal investigator of the TRIP Project and an assistant professor of government at William & Mary.

 Despite ongoing troubles in financial markets and the outbreak of the Ebola virus, scholars believe international institutions are doing their job to curb these issues. More than 80 percent of academics consider global financial regulators to be at least as capable as in 2008, and almost 60 percent believe organizations like the WHO can contain the spread of pandemic diseases.

 “This suggests that there is a large gap between the perceptions of the public and the perceptions of IR experts on important issues,” said Michael Tierney ’87, another principal investigator of TRIP and Director of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations at William & Mary.

 Maliniak and Tierney, along with fellow principal investigator Susan Peterson and James Long ’03, recently published an article exploring scholars’ overwhelming opposition to the Iraq War. This snap poll found similarly large numbers of scholars in support of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, with almost 70 percent saying that such a drawdown was the right thing to do.

 The TRIP Project fields snap polls several times a year around key global events and debates to provide policymakers and the public with real-time information on the views of IR experts.

 This survey included all faculty members employed at a U.S. university in a political science department or policy school who teach or conduct research on issues that cross international borders. The poll was part of a larger faculty survey sent to 4,185 IR scholars, of which 1,395 responded. The response rate is approximately 33 percent, and the margin of error is +/- 2.1 percent.

 Full results of this snap poll are available here.

 TRIP Snap Polls are supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The TRIP Project is part of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations at William & Mary.

About the TRIP Project

To date, the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project has focused on trends in IR teaching, scholarship, and disciplinary norms through a periodic survey of IR scholars. The project also is building the world’s largest, systematically coded database of IR articles from peer-reviewed journals. The TRIP Project is best known for its “Inside the Ivory Tower” rankings of graduate and undergraduate programs in IR published in Foreign Policy and for a recent article on the “gender citation gap” published in the journal International Organization. TRIP is based at the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

TRIP Principal Investigators:

Daniel Maliniak, Assistant Professor of Government, The College of William & Mary

Susan Peterson, Reves Professor of Government and International Relations, The College of William & Mary

Ryan Powers, Ph.D. candidate, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Michael J. Tierney, Hylton Associate Professor of Government, The College of William & Mary