U.S. policymakers often worry the American public will support military operations only if the human costs of armed conflict or war are minimal. This study will examine whether a specific form of presidential priming (‘rally-around-the-flag’ priming or ‘investment’ priming) is an effective tool for the President of the United States to minimize the constraints public opinion may place on a foreign policy initiative of the administration This study examines the direct impact of presidential priming on public opinion for the Iraq War, and is accomplished through the combination of content analysis of President George W. Bush’s the 2003 to 2008 weekly radio addresses to the nation, Gallup polls accounting for public opinion of the nation in regards to Iraq and a survey experiment. The research findings suggest that ‘rally-around-the-flag’ priming may be an effective form of priming; it remains undetermined whether ‘investment’ priming is an effective form of priming. Furthermore, the data suggest that priming may not overall be as effective at modifying public opinion as previously thought.


Lantis, Jeffrey

Second Advisor

Kille, Kent


International Relations


International Relations | Political Science


Public Opinion, Casualty Sensitivity, Priming

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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