My research interests cover the topics of Public Opinion, American Foreign Policy, Military Veterans, Social Identity, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, and Environmental Policy
My broad research interests are in public opinion and political behavior. My dissertation examines how the amount and intensity of combat events experienced by military veterans affects their political opinions and behaviors. Specifically, I examine how combat experiences can lead to changes in veterans’ opinions on foreign policy, trust in government, and a shared sense of social identity. Both my dissertation and other research focuses on the ways that individuals react to the political world based on their daily life experiences and social identities.
Previous work on military members has captured combat experiences as a dichotomous experience. Instead, in this paper I consider the multiple layers and added toll that combat experiences can have on service members. I extend the research on military service members’ combat experiences by measuring combat cumulatively. Consistent with previous research, I find that service members who have experienced a single incident of combat are more hawkish than non-military civilians and non-combat military members. However, when considering the cumulative effects of combat, I find that the more combat experiences that military members experience, the less hawkish their foreign policy positions are. This finding should encourage public opinion scholars to consider the cumulative effects that combat has on military members issue positions. The assumptions that all combat experiences are equivalent and do not have a cumulative impact may pose a problem when attempting to account for individual military members experiences.
What does it mean to be a veteran, and how do the actions during a service member’s time in the armed forces condition how they view their sense of identity as a veteran? In this paper, I argue that whether and how veterans experience combat (and the different combat events that they experience) affects their ability to feel like a veteran. Using a nationally representative sample (N=1092) with an oversampling of veterans (N=200), I find that veterans with more combat event experiences have a stronger sense of identity as a veteran, measured both in terms of identifying more strongly as a veteran and a feeling of closeness to the veteran group. I also compare the effect of this veteran identity to that of partisan identity on veterans’ foreign and domestic policy positions, and find that veteran identity has an important influence on veterans’ public opinion separate from their partisanship. This paper shows that the way that military members view their status as a veteran may be predicated on the type of events that they experienced while serving in the military. It also shows that on certain issues, their veteran identity may override partisan proclivities.
Political discontent can lead to a lack of trust in government, and lingering distrust may ultimately affect views on overall governmental effectiveness. In this paper, I examine the relationship between military service and individuals levels of trust in government. I advance a theory that, in experiencing combat, combat military veterans are trained and conditioned to accomplish certain mission objectives on behalf of the government and therefore should have higher levels of trust in government. In contrast, non-combat military veterans have a hard time putting faith in the government that trained them to fight but were unable to have the opportunity to fulfill their training. As a point of comparison, I also examine levels of trust in government among non-military civilians. Using a survey of 200 veterans and more than 1,000 non-military civilians, I find that the more combat experiences a military member had, the more trusting they are in government. This paper shows that military members’ combat experience plays a role in the way that they trust the government, which is conditioned on the places and situations that the government places them in in order to fulfill their service requirements while in the military.
Endicott, Travis W. "Combat Experience and the Foreign Policy Positions of Service Members"
Armstrong, Grant M., Travis W. Endicott, Conor M. Dowling. “The Effects of Group-Based Attacks on Political Behavior” Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago, IL.
Endicott, Travis W., Grant M. Armstrong, Conor M. Dowling. “Foreign Electoral Intervention and U.S. Public Opinion Concerning Retaliation” Presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association in San Diego, CA.
Merivaki, Thessalia, Julie Wronski, Travis W. Endicott, and Grant M. Armstrong. “Racial Effects of Voting in Mississippi”