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July 18, 2004

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The Political Fortunes of War: Iraq and the Domestic Standing of President George W. Bush

Richard C. Eichenberg and Richard J. Stoll

The Political Fortunes of War provides a preliminary quantative assessment of just how much the Iraq war may be costing President Bush his bid for re-election. It sets out a correlation between a President’s approval ratings and his chances of winning re-election, based on data from every President since Roosevelt.

Authors Professor Richard C Eichenberg and Richard J Stoll argue that President Bush’s ratings have declined by just over one per cent for every 100 deaths of American service personnel. Using this estimate, the war may have cost the President over 10 per cent in his job approval ratings. They argue that without the war effect, Bush would be comfortably heading towards re-election. However, a continuation of the status quo – in which there is a daily death toll of several soldiers – is placing his continued tenure of the White House in increasing doubt.

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