Democracy at Risk: How Terrorist Threats Affect the Public

Democracy at Risk: How Terrorist Threats Affect the Public

by Jennifer L. Merolla, Elizabeth J. Zechmeister
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0226520552

ISBN-13: 9780226520551

Pub. Date: 10/01/2009

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

How do threats of terrorism affect the opinions of citizens? Speculation abounds, but until now no one had marshaled hard evidence to explain the complexities of this relationship. Drawing on data from surveys and original experiments they conducted in the United States and Mexico, Jennifer Merolla and Elizabeth Zechmeister demonstrate how our strategies for coping

Overview

How do threats of terrorism affect the opinions of citizens? Speculation abounds, but until now no one had marshaled hard evidence to explain the complexities of this relationship. Drawing on data from surveys and original experiments they conducted in the United States and Mexico, Jennifer Merolla and Elizabeth Zechmeister demonstrate how our strategies for coping with terrorist threats significantly influence our attitudes toward fellow citizens, political leaders, and foreign nations.

The authors reveal, for example, that some people try to restore a sense of order and control through increased wariness of others—especially of those who exist outside the societal mainstream. Additionally, voters under threat tend to prize “strong leadership” more highly than partisan affiliation, making some politicians seem more charismatic than they otherwise would. The authors show that a wary public will sometimes continue to empower such leaders after they have been elected, giving them greater authority even at the expense of institutional checks and balances. Having demonstrated that a climate of terrorist threat also increases support for restrictive laws at home and engagement against terrorists abroad, Merolla and Zechmeister conclude that our responses to such threats can put democracy at risk.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226520551
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Series:
Chicago Studies in American Politics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables

Abbreviations

Acknowledgments  

Introduction

1. Coping with the Threat of Terrorism 

2. Crisis Creation: A Methodological Tour

3. Love Thy Neighbor? Terror Threat and the Social Fabric

4. Holding Out for a Hero: Looking for Leadership in Times of Terror Threat

5. Enabling Charismatic Leadership in Times of Terror Threat

6. Engage Abroad, Protect at Home

Conclusion

Appendix: Question Wording and Coding

Notes

References 

Index

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