Who rallies? The anatomy of a rally event Academic Article uri icon


  • On June 26, 1993, President Clinton ordered a missile attack on Iraq's intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. The president's approval level surgeda textbook example of a rally. But who rallied? Previous studies of rallies have relied on aggregate data, preventing analysts from determining who switched from nonapproval to approval of the president in response to a rally event. The CBS News/New York Times Poll interviewed a national sample of adults right before the attack and reinterviewed 622 of the same respondents immediately following. Employing this panel study, we find that those who rallied were those most disposed to support the president in the first place. Exposure to the news media also plays a role in reinforcing the impact of positive views of the president's handling of foreign policy. Thus, more than patriotic fervor is involved in rallies. Rather than being a distinctive phenomenon, a rally event seems to be simply an additional force that pushes potential supporters over the threshold of approval. 1997, Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Edwards, G. C., & Swenson, T.

citation count

  • 70

complete list of authors

  • Edwards, GC||Swenson, T

publication date

  • January 1997