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Clay Ramsay

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Clay Ramsay is a senior research associate at CISSM and a practitioner in the study of US and international public opinion on global problems and domestic policy. He is best known for his long-time role as research director for the Program on International Policy Attitudes (now the Program for Public Consultation). One of the founders of the program in 1994, he supervised content, execution and reporting of over 271 survey modules, managed the work of 3-6 junior staff, and wrote most text of final reports.

Among other projects, he steered collaboration with the World Bank on a 15-nation survey on attitudes toward climate change, the first to specifically target developing countries; worked on a 27-country survey for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and managed a two-wave survey of seven Muslim countries on attitudes toward terrorism, US military presence, and the West in general, for the START research consortium sponsored by Department of Homeland Security, organizing question input from eight other researchers.

In 2019, along with Prof.s Nancy Gallagher and Ebrahim Mohseni, he was a co-author of Iranian Public Opinion Under “Maximum Pressure,” which covered the Iranian public’s reaction over 2019 to the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the resumption of sanctions (waves of surveys were conducted in May, August and October). His op-ed on the report appeared in the Baltimore Sun.

In 2017 he worked on CISSM’s extensive study of Iranian public opinion before and after its presidential election, and on a survey of Americans regarding the House of Representatives bill, the American Health Care Act, which was meant to replace the Affordable Care Act but did not pass the Senate.

He is also active in teaching undergraduate courses at the School. He taught an international version of PLCY 101, Great Thinkers on Public Policy, in 2019 and will repeat it in spring 2020, when he will also teach PLCY388W, Global Action for Global Solutions.

Publications include “Public Opinion and Evidence-Based Counterinsurgency” (in Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy, Lum and Kennedy eds., Springer 2012), "The Iraq War and US Public Opinion” (in Balance Sheet: The Iraq War and US National Security, Duffield and Dombrowski eds., Stanford 2009), and, with Steven Kull and Evan Lewis, “The Media, Misperceptions, and the Iraq War” (Political Science Quarterly, winter 2004).

Ramsay was trained initially as an historian and holds a PhD in modern European history from Stanford University. His historical publications include The Ideology of the Great Fear: the Soissonnais in 1789 (Johns Hopkins, 1992).

Areas of Interest
  • US & international public opinion on domestic/global policy; Iranian policy; public and elite understanding of rule of law in the US; pedagogy for public policy
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