Crisis, Charisma, and Consequences: Evidence from the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election

Authors

  • Jennifer L. Merolla,

    Corresponding author
    1. Claremont Graduate University
      Jennifer L. Merolla is assistant professor of political science, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711. Jennifer M. Ramos is Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Elizabeth J. Zechmeister is assistant professor of political science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Jennifer M. Ramos,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Davis
      Jennifer L. Merolla is assistant professor of political science, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711. Jennifer M. Ramos is Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Elizabeth J. Zechmeister is assistant professor of political science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth J. Zechmeister

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Davis
      Jennifer L. Merolla is assistant professor of political science, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711. Jennifer M. Ramos is Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Elizabeth J. Zechmeister is assistant professor of political science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
    Search for more papers by this author

Jennifer L. Merolla is assistant professor of political science, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711. Jennifer M. Ramos is Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Elizabeth J. Zechmeister is assistant professor of political science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

We investigate how conditions of crisis affect perceptions of charisma and how these, in turn, affect blame attribution and self-sacrificial behavior. Our data are from a 2004 experimental study that preceded the U.S. presidential election, in which we manipulated concerns of a terrorist attack. The results show that those in the Crisis condition rated Bush higher on perceptions of charisma compared to those in the Good Times condition. The Crisis condition also directly and indirectly, via perceptions of charisma, affected whether Bush was blamed for failures in Iraq and our subjects' willingness to sacrifice their personal resources for his candidacy.

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