Reassessing Gendered Reactions to Terrorist Attacks: Slumps or Bumps?

32 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2024

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Martha C. Johnson

Mills College

Date Written: April 9, 2024


This research note critically examines Holman, Merolla and Zechmeister’s (2022) findings regarding the impact of terrorism on public support for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, as published in the American Political Science Review. Contrary to their conclusion, our analysis suggests that controlling for a linear trend renders the effects of being surveyed after the Manchester attack statistically insignificant. We also identify shortcomings in their difference-in-differences analysis, which does not sufficiently leverage respondent-level panel data. Additionally, we replicate their unexpected-event-during-survey (UEDS) study using the Gallup World Poll survey, finding no evidence of a slump in May's approval ratings following the attack. Furthermore, our analysis of major international terrorist attacks in other countries with men as leaders reveals no rally effect for them either. These findings challenge the gendered revision proposed by Holman, Merolla and Zechmeister and suggest a need for further investigation into the rally 'round the flag effect following terrorism.

Keywords: gender, terrorism, Gallup World Poll, unexpected event during survey design, rally 'round the flag

JEL Classification: D70, D74

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Johnson, Martha C., Reassessing Gendered Reactions to Terrorist Attacks: Slumps or Bumps? (April 9, 2024). Available at SSRN: or

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States


Martha C. Johnson

Mills College ( email )

5000 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94613-1301
United States

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