THE EFFECTS OF GOVERNMENT-ISSUED TERRO WARNINGS ON PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL RATINGS: VOLUME 10: September 30, 2004: 12 PAGES. ROBB WILLER. Introduction: After United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, all polls of the president Bush’s approval rating had an upward spike. I.e. those who approved Bush’s job performance short from 51% to 86% between 10th September 2001 Gallup polls and those released on September 15th. Though the sudden increase of polls regarding the president, there were no clear reasons of the spike. Moreover, Bush’s approval surpassed only that regarding the terror attack but all increased his popularity on how he handles the economy raising from 54% to 72% from July 11, 2011 and 5th October 2001 as reported by Gallup.
According to Tajfel and Turner (1986) social identity theory, the fundamental cognitive tendency leads to individuals categorizing groups and other stimuli in terms of opposites. Individuals identify with specific groups to such extents that they see themselves as more similar to the members of the group than its salient out group. According to Trajfel (1970) threats of attacks strengthens the in group including its leadership by increasing the salience of a hated out-group in this case being the foreign terrorists.
The author was out to test the claim that fear of terrorism leads to increased support for standing leaders and other related statuses. Finally, whether government issued warnings have a positive effect on the presidential approval ratings and the duration of the predicted effect. Method: The author collected data on government issued terror warnings and the presidential ratings during the time period extending from February 1, 2001 to may 9, 2004. Immediately after the US was attacked on September 11, 2001, some branches of the US government occasionally warned the public of the increased risk of terrorist attacks, and these warnings were followed by tight security.
The data set begins prior to the attack on the US of September 11, 2001 and ends after the period of highest concentration of terror warnings. Then there was presidential approval variable and presidential economic approval level collected from the data gathered by Gallup organization which resulted from telephone interviews of approximately 1,000 adults conducted over 2-3 days periods. Gallup polls periods was between 0-19 days and therefore 131 polls of presidential approval were conducted during the study period.
Presidential approval was reflected by the percentage of those who answered yes on the question “DO you approve or disapprove of the way George W Bush is handling his job as president? ” The economic approval data was gathered intermittently in the same interviews. 44 Gallup polls of the economic approval for the president were conducted during the period of the study. The approval was reflected by those who answered yes in the question “Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W Bush is handling the economy? ”The author identified significant shocks to the president’s approval levels: the attacks on September 11, military action in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the beginning of war in Iraq march 20, 2003, the capture of Sadam Hussein on December 14, 2003 and the television broadcast of the Abu Ghraib prison whereby he specified a variable lasting for 4 weeks.
As for the September 11th control variable, had more effects on presidential approval than other events.
He also created two independent variables not confusing with the dependent variables. The independent lags are used to assess the duration of the effect of the independent variable, wile dependent variable lags are used to control for the past levels of the dependent variable. Results The author comes up with tables whereby the first table shows the results of four regression models with approval ratings as the dependent variables. He included two models to show the basic relationship between terror warnings and presidential approval. The models are the government issued warnings count before the polls and the two terrors lags terms.
Model 1 shows that without controls, both terror warning count and the first lag term recorded an increased presidential approval. In model 2, he added control for five events which could have impact on Bush’s approval.