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What is the "rally 'round the flag effect?"

In the past, international crises have led to bursts of popular support for U.S. presidents. Here are four examples of the “rally ‘round the flag effect.”

Wag the Dog

The rally 'round the flag effect is a concept used in political science and international relations to explain increased short-run popular support of the President of the United States during periods of international crisis or war. The American public sees the President as the embodiment of national unity. The second, "The Opinion Leadership School" believes that the rally emerges from a lack of criticism from members of the opposition party, most often in the United States Congress. If opposition party members appear to support the president, the media has no conflict to report, thus it appears to the public that all is well with the performance of the president.

How low could they go?

It is also believed that the lower the presidential approval rating before the crisis, the larger the increase will be in terms of percentage points because it leaves the president more room for improvement. For example, Franklin Roosevelt only had a 12% increase in approval from 72% to 84% following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, whereas George W. Bush had a 39% increase from 51% to 90% following the September 11 attacks. The Cuban Missile Crisis: According to Gallup polls, President John F. Kennedy's approval rating in early October 1962 was at 61%. By November, after the crisis had passed, Kennedy's approval rose to 74%. The spike in approval peaked in December 1962 at 76%. Kennedy's approval rating slowly decreased again until it reached the pre-crisis level of 61% in June 1963.

Primary fear

There are fears that a president will misuse the rally 'round the flag effect. These fears come from the "diversionary theory of war" in which the President creates an international crisis in order to distract from domestic affairs and to increase their approval ratings through a rally 'round the flag effect. The fear associated with this theory is that a President can create international crisis to avoid dealing with serious domestic issues or to increase their approval rating when it begins to drop.

Brut.

01/08/2020 9:57 PM
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50 comments

  • Drew S.
    02/01/2020 00:05

    Where do they get these numbers? You ever been asked by a government employee about your approval of our president? Didnt think so.

  • Edward L.
    01/31/2020 21:48

    Just my opinion the only legitimate threat was Russia they had bombs less than a hundred miles away from us John F Kennedy one of my favorites

  • Michael R.
    01/31/2020 17:28

    Donald the chump Trump just tryed that with Iran

  • Bob W.
    01/31/2020 08:32

    It's a shame that it takes armed conflict to "rally around the flag".

  • Ryan B.
    01/31/2020 03:51

    Americans love violence

  • Debra F.
    01/31/2020 00:04

    And Now We have TRUMP 😂😎

  • Lorenzo S.
    01/30/2020 23:42

    All these Presidents had an approval rating of at least %60

  • Kathy F.
    01/30/2020 21:56

    WILL I EVER HEAR A PRESIDENT AGAIN TALK WITH AUTHORITY RESPECT FOR THE USA HONOR TRUST LOVE IN HIS VOICE WHERE IS THIS COUNTRY GOING I WANT FREEDOM I DONT WANT A DICTATOR IAM SICK AND TIRED OF NOT KNOWING WHERE WE ARE WHAT WE STAND FOR BEING CONTROLLED VERY SCARY WAKE UP PLEASE WE NEED FREEDOM

  • Kevin S.
    01/30/2020 08:43

    LBJ should have picked up a M-16 and joined the war

  • Mike R.
    01/29/2020 20:30

    JFK... LAST GREAT DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT!

  • David R.
    01/29/2020 16:08

    He is rolling in his grave because Obama let Cuba back in to our country. Never was that supposed to happen.

  • Walter F.
    01/28/2020 15:02

    Not going for the gop BS or little clown in the WH

  • Pamela B.
    01/28/2020 01:31

    I loved John F. Kennedy!!❤

  • Jerry S.
    01/24/2020 16:25

    Who owned the trucking company with the bird painted on the trailers?

  • Erik C.
    01/24/2020 16:05

    I’m just saying can you imagine how this would have gone if trump had been president then?

  • Charles J.
    01/24/2020 15:36

    I remember most of these events.

  • Mike J.
    01/24/2020 12:43

    Why stop there, ?

  • David P.
    01/23/2020 22:06

    Two out of those three military actions we're horrible mistakes. When the loss of Brave American warriors. Will we ever learn? The military industrial complex hopes we never will

  • AJesusreyes F.
    01/23/2020 13:35

    Por eso a nuestro presidente tenemos que apollar contra cualquier situación the best president

  • Mike B.
    01/23/2020 00:43

    Real Americans