War and Elections

Citation metadata

Author: Daniel Stevens
Date: Sept. 2015
From: International Studies Quarterly(Vol. 59, Issue 3)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 335 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Byline: Daniel Stevens This paper argues that the effects of war as a performance issue in elections are different for a right-wing than a left-wing leader. War is consistent with the reputation of right-wing, hawkish governments, but does not fit the reputation of left-wing, dovish governments, and necessitates a turn away from the domestic issues the public expects left-wing governments to prioritize. War therefore varies in its effects on perceptions of right-wing and left-wing leaders. War also provides more temptation for left-wing supporters to defect to the incumbent under a right-wing government than for right-wing supporters to defect under a left-wing government. The War in Iraq and elections in the United States and UK provide a unique case to test these arguments. The results confirm that Blair paid a higher political price as a left-wing leader, because perceptions of Blair's trustworthiness became central to evaluations of him. Conversely, positive perceptions of strength became central to evaluations of Bush as a right-wing leader. The war also had asymmetric effects on supporters of the opposition party in the UK that resulted in higher costs to Blair. These findings imply that the risks of going to war are greater for left-wing leaders. Article Note: Thanks to members of the Politics seminar at the University of Kent, particularly Matt Loveless, and to Susan Banducci, John Transue, and Jeffrey A. Karp for helpful comments and suggestions. This paper was completed while I was a visiting professor at the Australian National University. CAPTION(S): Appendix S1. Coding of Variables. Table S1. Univariate Statistics for Variables Used in Models (Mean Scores). Table S2. Party Identification and the Impact of the War in Iraq in the US. Table S3. Party Identification and the Impact of the War in Iraq in Britain. Table S4. The Impact of the War in Iraq in Britain. Table S5. Party Identification and the Impact of the War in Iraq in Britain. Figure S1. Approval/Satisfaction with George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard from October 2001 to May 2005.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A427486707