Dr. Steven Kull is a political psychologist who studies public opinion on public policy. He has conducted polls and focus groups in over 30 countries around the world. He has led in-depth studies in the United States and the Muslim world, as well as numerous large multi-nation studies of world public opinion. Kull appears regularly in international media and has testified to or consulted with the U.S. Congress, the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, NATO, the European Commission, and other agencies.
His most recent book, Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) explores attitudes in the Muslim public toward the United States based on extensive focus groups and polls he conducted in majority-Muslim countries.
Kull has been a faculty member in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland since 1990. In 1992, he established the Center on Policy Attitudes (COPA) with the purpose of giving the public a greater voice in public policy.
Dr. Kull is director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), a joint program of COPA and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland(CISSM). PIPA has conducted numerous studies of public opinion on international issues and is noted for polls that probe respondents not only for their opinions but also for their beliefs and perceptions. Particularly well-known is a poll PIPA conducted in 1995 in which it was revealed that the median American assumes that 20% of the U.S. federal budget is devoted to foreign aid and believes that it should be 10%, when in fact the real amount is 1%.
Starting in 2002, Kull became increasingly involved in studying public opinion around the world. In 2004 he and PIPA, in conjunction with the international polling firm GlobeScan, initiated the global polling program for BBC World Service, which continues today. In 2006 PIPA also initiated the WorldPublicOpinion.org project, which is a collaborative project of research centers in over 25 countries that conducts international polls.
Kull began intensive study of public opinion in the Muslim world in 2006, conducting focus groups in six majority-Muslim nations and polls in eleven countries, of which the result is Feeling Betrayed, his book on Muslim attitudes toward the United States.
In 2010 Kull initiated the Program for Public Consultation (PPC), a joint program of COPA and the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. PPC seeks to give the public a greater voice in public policy by improving the capacity for policymakers to consult the public on government decisions. The process of public consultation goes beyond standard polls by first presenting the respondent with the kind of information that policymakers have when making decisions. PPC conducted a major study in 2011 in which a representative sample was presented with the U.S. federal budget in some detail and were given the means to design their own budget.
Kull is licensed as a clinical psychologist and practiced as a psychotherapist for over 10 years. He was associated with the method psychosynthesis, having been trained by its founder Roberto Assagioli at the Istituto di Psicosintest in Florence.
Kull graduated from the University of California in 1972 with a B.A. in Psychology and from the Saybrook Institute in 1980 with a Ph.D. in psychology. From 1984-1988 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, studying international relations under the tutelage of Alexander George.
Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America
Released in April 2011 by The Brookings Institution Press, Feeling Betrayed is a comprehensive analysis of how Muslims see America. Kull ran numerous focus groups in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Jordan, Iran, and Indonesia, and he conducted in-depth surveys in eleven majority-Muslim nations over several years. Employing the results of this extensive research along with other diverse survey data, Kull dissects Muslims' attitudes toward America and maps out steps that can mitigate the tension between the United States and Islamic nations.
"The democratic revolution throughout the Middle East compels the Obama administration to rethink U.S. policy to meet a profoundly changed region. Steven Kull's excellent Feeling Betrayed provides the data needed to make informed policy. The book is written by the voices of millions of Arabs. We would be wise to heed their message." —Wendy Chamberlin, president of the Middle East Institute, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan
"Steven Kull's Feeling Betrayed breaks new ground and is a must—read for academics and policymakers. It is an in-depth study of Muslim attitudes toward the United States. The findings culled from numerous public opinion polls and focus groups give an accurate picture of the concerns, hopes, and political and ideological inclinations of citizens in Muslim majority countries, which I have used during my work for the government and since." —Emile Nakhleh, former director, CIA Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, and author of A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America's Relations with the Muslim World
Minds at War: Nuclear Reality and the Inner Conflicts of Defense Policymakers (Basic, 1988). Kull’s first book was based on interviews he conducted with U.S. defense policymakers.
Burying Lenin: The Revolution in Soviet Ideology and Foreign Policy (Westview, 1992). Kull’s second book was based on interviews he conducted in the Soviet Union.
Misreading the Public: the Myth of a New Isolationism (Brookings, 1998). Co-authored with I.M. Destler, Kull took the lead in a major study that revealed that members of the American policy community had a greatly exaggerated perception of the degree of isolationism in the American public.
Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America (Brookings, 2011). See above.
- Brookings Institution Press
- Center on Policy Attitudes
- Program on International Policy Attitudes
- Brookings Institution Press
- Program for Public Consultation