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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Terrorism fears no longer helping Bush, study finds

August 12, 2004
A new study reveals a surprising twist on the conventional wisdom about November's presidential election: While political pundits seem to agree that news of terrorist threats and other dangers from abroad is good news for President Bush's re-election bid, the opposite might be true. ...The professors have been tracking Americans' attitudes about politics, civil liberties and security in a series of national and Michigan-wide surveys since 2001.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they found that people who expressed greater concern about threats of future terrorism were more likely to approve of Bush's presidential performance, while those who were less worried were less likely to support the president. But by spring 2004, "this relationship had reversed: Those who were more concerned about terrorism were less likely to approve of Bush's performance," the professors say in their report.

And, the professors say, that trend is influencing how people plan to vote in the November election. ... In the most recent Michigan State survey, however, increased concern was no longer linked to increased approval of Bush's performance. Davis and Silver found that among those who are very concerned about another attack, just 29 percent approve of Bush. But among people who say they are not at all concerned about another attack, the president's approval rating is 30 points higher: 59 percent. ... FR Reprint.

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