The literature makes clear that foreign policy affects voting, but it does not lead to clear expectations as to how a war will affect voting. Will views about the advisability of the war predominate? Or will the indirect effect through the incumbent’s image be more important? Will a war crowd out other potential issues, particularly domestic ones? This paper addresses these questions through a series of focused analyses of NES survey data. We find that an increase in strong Republican partisans clinched the election for President Bush. The Iraq War was not a direct vote gainer for the President, but the larger War on Terrorism burnished his image as a leader, at least long enough to win the election. Likewise, the cultural war allowed President Bush to retain some of the votes that he might otherwise have lost due to the unpopularity of the Iraq War.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 3, 2007
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