Predispositions and Public Support for the President During the War on Terrorism

Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 511-538, 2007

28 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2008

See all articles by Jonathan McDonald Ladd

Jonathan McDonald Ladd

Georgetown University - Department of Government

Abstract

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath offer a rare opportunity to examine how presidential approval responds to a sudden and severe national security crisis. I utilize the 2000-2002 National Election Studies panel to track change in public attitudes toward George W. Bush over the first two years of his presidency. An advantage of using panel data is that it allows me to go beyond aggregate change in presidential approval to examine how change is related to defense policy predispositions and prior political awareness. I find important differences. Over these two years, those high in political awareness experience priming of their defense predispositions but very little rally effect. In contrast, those low in political awareness experience a rally in support for Bush but very little priming. These results reaffirm that those with different levels of political awareness respond to dramatic messages in distinct ways.

Keywords: public opinion, presidential approval, priming, rally effects

Suggested Citation

Ladd, Jonathan McDonald, Predispositions and Public Support for the President During the War on Terrorism. Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 511-538, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1099026

Jonathan McDonald Ladd (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Government ( email )

ICC, Suite 681
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
202-687-7112 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://government.georgetown.edu/jml89

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