Middle East conflicts are good for unity

One would assume that the unfolding crisis in Gaza would engender more division in the US. But historically, crisis in the Middle East has tended to have a unifying effect, if presidential approval ratings are used as a proxy for unity. A higher approval rating generally means a more united nation. However this is only observed for Middle East conflicts or if Islam is implicated: there was no bump in unity during the Vietnam War, the Yugoslav Wars, or the Russia-Ukraine war.

Jimmy Carter’s approval ratings doubled from 30% to 60% during the Iran hostage crisis:

However, Reagan got no bump from the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings.

George W. Bush got a major boost after 911, but less so during the 2003 invasion of Iraq:

His dad’s approval ratings peaked at 90% shortly after the Gulf War, only to fall by half a year later:

Israel is seen by some as an extension of America, so Israel being under attack is a cause for unity. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

1 comment

  1. Things have changed. People are more informed. They don’t care about the conflict far away but they do care about the hardship caused by it.

Comments are closed.