Skip to main content

How Terrorism could Affect the 2016 Election

Abstract

Politics is often frightening, whether because of a terrorist attack, a public health outbreak, or an immigration crisis. In this essay, we argue that when politics is threatening, an anxious public wants to feel protected. In turn, the public support leaders and policies they believe will keep them safe. In a world made threatening by terrorism, politicians may be all too eager to amplify alarm bells in order to promote their preferred policies. We hope that the election season means Americans will see some contestation over the best way to keep us safe.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Further Reading

  1. Albertson, B., & Gadarian, S. K. 2015. Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World. New York:Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Althaus, S. L. 2002. American News Consumption During Times of National Crisis. PS: Political Science and Politics, 35(3), 517–521.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bail, C. A. 2014. Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream. Princeton University Press.

  4. Bennett, W. L., Lawrence, R. G., & Livingston, S. 2007. When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina [in English]. In Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Berrebi, C., & Klor, E. F. 2006. On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50(6), 899–925.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bonanno, George A., and John T. Jost. 2006. “Conservative Shift among High-Exposure Survivors of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks.” [In English]. Basic and Applied Social Psychology 28, no. 4: 311–23.

  7. Brader, T. 2006. Campaigning for Hearts and Minds: How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work [in English]. In Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Brader, Ted, Nicholas A. Valentino, and Elizabeth Suhay. 2008. “What Triggers Public Opposition to Immigration? Anxiety, Group Cues, and Immigration Threat.” [In English]. American Journal of Political Science 52, no. 4: 959–78.

  9. Brooks, Clem, and Jeff Manza. 2013. Whose Rights?: Counterterrorism and the Dark Side of American Public Opinion. Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  10. CNN/Opinion Research Corporation. 2016. “General Election Matchups.”.

  11. Carpini, D., Michael, X., & Keeter, S. 1996. What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters [in English]. New Haven:Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Egan, Patrick. 2008. “Issue Ownership and Representation: A Theory of Legislative Response to Constituency Opinion.” Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

  13. Eysenck, M. W. 1992. Anxiety: The Cognitive Perspective [in English]. In Essays in Cognitive Psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Feldman, S., Huddy, L., & Marcus, G. 2015. Going to War in Iraq: When Citizens and the Press Matter. Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  15. Gadarian, S. K. 2014. Scary Pictures: How Terrorism Imagery Affects Voter Evaluations. Political Communication, 31(2), 282–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gadarian, Shana Kushner, and Bethany Albertson. 2013. “Anxiety, Immigration, and the Search for Information.” Political Psychology.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Getmansky, A., & Zeitzoff, T. 2014. Terrorism and Voting: The Effect of Rocket Threat on Voting in Israeli Elections. American Political Science Review, 108(03), 588–604.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Marcus, G., Russell Neuman, W., & MacKuen, M. 2000. Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment [in English]. Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Nabi, R. 1999. A Cognitive-Functional Model for the Effects of Discrete Negative Emotions on Information Processing, Attitude Change, and Recall. Communication Theory, 9(3), 292–320.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Petrocik, J. R., Benoit, W. L., & Hansen, G. J. 2003. Issue Ownership and Presidential Campaigning, 1952–2000. Political Science Quarterly, 118(4), 599–626.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Riffkin, Rebecca. 2015. “Trust in U.S. Government’s Terrorism Protection at New Low.” Gallup.

  22. Sides, John. 2013 “Americans Who Distrust Muslims Are Likelier to Back the War on Terror.” In Wonkblog. Washington, DC: The Washington Post.

  23. Sinclair, S. J., & Antonius, D. 2013. The Political Psychology of Terrorism Fears. Oxford University Press.

  24. The American National Election Studies 2016. The Anes 2016 Pilot Study. Ann Arbor MI:University of Michigan, Center for Political Studies.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bethany Albertson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Albertson, B., Kushner Gadarian, S. How Terrorism could Affect the 2016 Election. Soc 53, 479–481 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-016-0052-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Emotions
  • Political psychology
  • Election 2016