THE DELEGATE MODEL AND THE MCCARTHY DEBACLE: ON WHETHER MCCARTHYISM WAS A RESPONSE TO PERCEIVED PUBLIC OPINION
by Noor Rekhi
Category: Humanities and Social Sciences
Abstract – This research paper will answer the question of whether the McCarthy movement, from the anti-communist trials to the Senator’s censure, was an indication of the delegate model. The research was conducted through the careful analysis of public polling on the perception of communism in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which indicated that Americans generally feared communism. Polls on McCarthy’s approval rating and his electoral data in the 1952 Wisconsin primary were also looked at to examine the Senator’s popularity. Furthermore, newspaper articles published in this era gave an indication about attitudes towards McCarthyism and provided valuable information on Senators who chose to support or go against McCarthy. Finally, scholarship on the delegate model was used to establish a link between public opinion and senatorial actions. Analyzing these primary sources ultimately led to the conclusion that to a moderate extent, participation in McCarthyism by McCarthy and other Senators occurred in response to public opinion of the time period.