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Sociotropic Concerns and Support for Counterterrorism Policies


  • *Direct correspondence to Mark R. Joslyn, Department of Political Science, 1541 Lilac Lane, 504 Blake Hall, Lawrence, KS 66044 〈〉. Professor Joslyn will provide all data and coding information to those wishing to replicate the study.


Objective. An individual's personal experiences and perception of the collective experience are often linked to political attitudes, especially those concerning the national economy. In this article, we examine whether personal concern about terrorism and perceptions of public concern about terrorism affect attitudes about counterterrorism policies. In addition, we evaluate which factor is the strongest predictor across several counterterrorism policies.

Method. We analyze individual-level survey data collected during the fall of 2001.

Results. Our results indicate that perceptions of public concerns are the strongest and most consistent predictor of policy attitudes about terrorism.

Conclusion. The implications for theory about perceptions of public opinion and the competing role of personal interest and sociotropic concern are discussed.