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Reality Asserts Itself: Public Opinion on Iraq and the Elasticity of Reality

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Abstract:

Prevailing theories hold that U.S. public support for a war depends primarily on its degree of success, U.S. casualties, or conflict goals. Yet, research into the framing of foreign shows that public perceptions concerning each of these factors are often endogenous and malleable by elites. We argue that the qualities that make information persuasive vary over time. Early in a conflict, elites (especially the president) have an informational advantage. This renders public perceptions of “reality” very elastic. As events unfold and as the public gathers more information, this elasticity recedes, allowing alternative frames to challenge the administration’s preferred frame. We predict that over time the marginal impact of elite rhetoric and reality will decrease, although a sustained change in events may partially restore their influence. We test our argument through a content analysis of news coverage of the Iraq war from 2003 through 2007, an original survey of public attitudes regarding Iraq, and partially disaggregated data from over 200 surveys of public opinion on the war.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

public (109), iraq (92), event (81), time (74), casualti (70), war (66), effect (65), realiti (65), opinion (55), rhetor (54), support (52), chang (48), partisan (47), coverag (47), influenc (47), elit (44), conflict (41), month (41), media (40), posit (40), u.s (38),

Author's Keywords:

Iraq, public opinion, foreign policy, political communication, media and war, news coverage
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Name: APSA 2008 Annual Meeting
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http://www.apsanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p279991_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Baum, Matthew. "Reality Asserts Itself: Public Opinion on Iraq and the Elasticity of Reality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA 2008 Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-12-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p279991_index.html>

APA Citation:

Baum, M. A. , 2008-08-28 "Reality Asserts Itself: Public Opinion on Iraq and the Elasticity of Reality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA 2008 Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-12-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p279991_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Prevailing theories hold that U.S. public support for a war depends primarily on its degree of success, U.S. casualties, or conflict goals. Yet, research into the framing of foreign shows that public perceptions concerning each of these factors are often endogenous and malleable by elites. We argue that the qualities that make information persuasive vary over time. Early in a conflict, elites (especially the president) have an informational advantage. This renders public perceptions of “reality” very elastic. As events unfold and as the public gathers more information, this elasticity recedes, allowing alternative frames to challenge the administration’s preferred frame. We predict that over time the marginal impact of elite rhetoric and reality will decrease, although a sustained change in events may partially restore their influence. We test our argument through a content analysis of news coverage of the Iraq war from 2003 through 2007, an original survey of public attitudes regarding Iraq, and partially disaggregated data from over 200 surveys of public opinion on the war.


Similar Titles:
Elite Influence, Media Coverage, and Public Opinion on the Iraq War

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in the American Public Sphere: Assessing the interaction between elite rhetoric, media coverage and public attitudes


 
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