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A Defining Presidential Moment: 9/11 and the Rally Effect

James N. Schubert, Patrick A. Stewart and Margaret Ann Curran
Political Psychology
Vol. 23, No. 3, Special Issue: 9/11 and Its Aftermath: Perspectives from Political Psychology (Sep., 2002), pp. 559-583
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3792592
Page Count: 25
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A Defining Presidential Moment: 9/11 and the Rally Effect
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Abstract

Public approval ratings of George W. Bush surged after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. This study used a quasi-experimental, within-respondents design to investigate the relative contribution of five factors to this classic rally effect: the stimulus event itself, Bush's speech that evening, media exposure, partisan support, and gender effects. Respondents were pretested on the morning of the attacks; one group was posttested immediately after the speech, another group 41 hours later. Stability of effects was examined through an additional study of Bush's 20 September 2001 speech to a joint session of Congress. The findings indicate that Bush's 11 September speech was the critical factor in this rally effect; none of the other factors contributed significantly.

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