You are on page 1of 5

Rafael Vasquez

04/21/10

Paper One: Rally Effects

In Richard A. Brody and Catherine R. Shapiros article A Reconsideration of the Rally Phenomenon in Public Opinion, Brody and Shapiro analyze the rallies behind the United States. The first argument presented is the criteria for rally events as expressed by Mueller. He explains that rallies lie under three different points. He says, In general a rally point must be associated with an event which (1) is international and (2) involves the United States and particularly the president directly; and it must be (3) specific, dramatic, and sharply discussed (1973, p. 209). These points are then supported by the data that Brody and Shapiro find and/or conduct on the rally effect. Brody and Shapiro use the international aspect to explain rallies by eliminating domestic restraints. They explain the logic that domestic issues will more likely divide a country internally and would not have a rallying effect whereas international crises will hold the public support behind the flag and will be less critical of the president. The assumptions here are that the mere fact that the issue is international will bring support from the people of the United States. I would disagree with this and would make the point that most Americans are ignorant to many of the foreign affairs. Therefore, this rally effect does hold true for the international issues that are popular during that time. This elimination logic of using domestic as a falsity in rallies is great evidence, but there needs to be evidence in support of international issues gaining rallying effects for the mere fact that they are international. Gathering data from all international affairs that the United States has had and counting which of those have had rallying effects could do this. Another assumption is that domestic issues do not contribute to the rally phenomenon. This could be argued on issues where there is mass violence done from one person or very small

Rafael Vasquez

04/21/10

group of people like the Oklahoma City bombing. Overall, the logic behind the international issues is valid and does support the rally phenomenon. The second part of the argument necessitates the involvement of the United States and the President directly in order for there to be a rally effect. The logic behind this claim is that by having a direct involvement with the United States, the issue will be more relatable to the average American citizen. The average American meaning the most Americans that can be backed behind an issue. This is a very reasonable claim. Brody and Shapiro then go on to explain that conflicts between nations that do not involve the United States do not happen for Americans. Therefore, if these events are potentially nonexistent to Americans it is logical to have no rally effect behind it. This is due to Americans not exposing themselves to issues outside of their country. The assumption behind this logic is that Americans are self-centered individuals. The other assumption brought to light is that indirect United States issues with other countries cannot gain rally involvement. By analyzing the approval rates of Presidents in international crises, it helps to provide evidence for rallying effects rising where there are international crises. The data that Brody and Shapiro provide reinforces this claim by showing the effect of including or excluding the twenty cases of Soviet-U.S. summit meetings and major military developments. This graph shows the support, or lack thereof, of the Presidents under sudden American intervention, which is a good indicator of rallies behind a president.

Rafael Vasquez

04/21/10

The data shows that there is positive support at the start of these United States affairs with the Soviet Union but they do get disapproved. However, the rally phenomenon is getting tested on and not the approval rate so this is a great indicator of the rallying behind a President. The last part of what makes a rally effect calls for a specific, dramatic and sharply focused issue. This is an event that is explained as, [make] the front page for at least five consecutive daysto guarantee widespread public awareness (1978. p. 513). I do not follow the logic behind this description as a criterion for rallying effects. The assumption here is that specific and sharply focused are different to each other. However, isnt what is sharply focused specific? Also, couldnt the same be said of the opposite? Brody and Shapiro need to come up with better adjectives for events that cause a rally phenomenon. Another assumption is that what is on the front page of the paper is always either specific, dramatic or sharply focused. However, this description is more of what the public expects out of their news. To make this logic more sound there needs to be more evidence on rallies behind this kind of descriptive event without it necessarily being a foreign affairs issue. This could be seen in such evidence as celebrity gossip magazines, which create these adjectives exactly. Better evidence to support this claim can be done with studies of newspaper articles that are broad and specific and where they both lie on the newspaper. There would need to be parameters as to what passes as broad or specific as well as, what is dramatic and what isnt. By the analysis of the rally phenomenon above, Brody and Shapiro do stand by a compelling argument. However, there is definitely room for the paper to have more logical technique as well as, evidential support. As for the assumptions, they are very clear and do not

Rafael Vasquez

04/21/10

disturb from the logic presented. There is a lot of room for this paper to carry more information and more data to support the claims presented. It is not enough to say that something is something else, but it needs to be backed by a compelling argument. The problem with the Brody and Shapiro piece is that there arent a lot of results from experiments that are needed to support their claims.

Rafael Vasquez

04/21/10

Work Cited Brody, Richard A. and Shapiro, Catherine R. A Reconsideration of the Rally Phenomenon in Public Opinion.