A Divider, Not a Uniter: George W. Bush and the American Public / Edition 1

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“ This lucid, richly documented analysis is required reading for students of the George W. Bush presidency and American politics more generally.” – Fred I. Greenstein, Professor of Politics Emeritus, Princeton University, and author of The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush.

“In this important, accessible, and thoroughly engaging book, Jacobson brilliantly dissects the extraordinary partisan polarization of the Bush era.  He combines a lively narrative with remarkable data analysis—drawing together findings from literally thousands of polls, in more than seventy illuminating figures, many of which knock your socks off. . . The book is a must-read for anyone seriously concerned about the political process in the United States.”

- Paul J. Quirk, Professor and Phil Lind Chair in U.S. Politics and Representation, University of British Columbia 


"…Head and shoulders above other books on the presidency of George W. Bush. Jacobson's carefully documented analysis, backed up by extensive reporting and data, demonstrates the purposefulness of the polarizing strategies of the Bush administration, and the reality behind the rhetoric of "I'm a uniter not a divider." Unlike most books about Bush, Jacobson's is neither ideological nor polemical.”

-Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post political reporter and author of Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights,and Taxes on American Politics (with Mary D. Edsall), The New Politics of Inequality, and Red America: The Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power, (forthcoming, Basic Books.)


“This is an important book.  Jacobson marshals evidence and analyzes the dynamics of public opinion to explain why George W. Bush is the most polarizing president in the history of systematic polling.   His analysis is incisive and balanced.”

-James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University


“A masterful analysis and a major contribution. Applying over a half century of poll data, Jacobson places George W. Bush's presidency and the war in Iraq in broad historical context and derives insights that intrigue and impress.”

-John Mueller, Professor of political science and Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, Ohio State University and author of War, Presidents and Public Opinion, Policy and Opinion in the Gulf War, and The Remnants of War.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321416995
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/23/2006
  • Series: Great Questions in Politics Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Jacobson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California at San Diego. His 1980 book, Money in Congressional Elections, won multiple awards. Since its publication, Jacobson has published numerous books and papers about American politics, Congress, campaign financing, and partisan polarization. He has served on many advisory boards, including the NSF Political Science Advisory Panel. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Chapter 2 Primed for Partisanship 19
Sources of Partisan Polarization 21
Partisan Polarization in Congress 22
Polarization and Electoral Change 25
Is Polarization Confined to Activists? 35
Religion and Partisanship 41
Economic Inequality and the Ideological Fragmentation of the Mass Media 45
Conclusion 46
Chapter 3 To the White House Via Florida 47
"Compasionate Conservatism" 48
One of Us 50
The Campaigns 52
The Vote 55
Florida 60
Conclusion 67
Chapter 4 The First Two Years: Before and After 9/11 69
The Bush Agenda 71
Tactics 74
After September 11 79
2002 Election 87
God's Instrument 91
Chapter 5 Going to War in Iraq 95
The Case for War 100
Saddam and 9/11 101
The Public's Response 105
Bringing Congress on Board 110
Popular Support for a Discretionary War 113
Chapter 6 Illusion, Disillusion, and Faith in the President after "Mission Accomplished" 119
Revising the Case for War 122
The Iraq Rally 127
The Widening Partisan Divide on Iraq 131
Belief in the War's Premises 138
The President's Credibility 148
The Religious Factor 151
Multivariate Analyses 157
Conclusion 160
Chapter 7 The 2004 Election: Mobilized Bases, Reinforced Divisions 163
The Democratic Nomination 165
An Avalanche of Money 170
The War in the Campaigns 171
Opinion Leadership 175
Rational Ignorance? 182
Mobilizing Voters 186
The Vote 189
The Congress 197
Aftermath 201
Chapter 8 President of Half the People 203
A Mandate? 204
The Campaign to Revamp Social Security 206
Why the Campaign Failed 210
The Bipartisan Consensus 217
Other Issues 218
The Terri Schiavo Case 219
The Iraq War, Again 222
Unwavering Christian Conservatives 233
Conclusion 236
Chapter 9 Conclusions and Speculations 239
Does Bush Care? 242
Competing Realities 245
The News Media 249
Hurricane Katrina 253
After Bush 258
Appendix Data Sources and Question Wordings 263
Index 270
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