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Terrorism and public opinion: The effects of terrorist attacks on the popularity of the president of the United States


Terrorism and Political ViolenceJournal abstract

This article uses a large-n dataset to investigate the effect of terrorist attacks with American victims on the popularity of the U.S. president. The study uses two broad theoretical frameworks to analyze this effect, the score-keeping framework and the rally-effect framework. The findings of the study show that, when excluding the effect from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, actual terrorist attacks have no generalizable short-term impact on the popularity of the U.S. president. This indicates that even though the topics of national security, terrorism, and the president’s ability to handle these issues are important in the political debate in the United States, actual terrorism has little or no short-term impact on presidential approval ratings.

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