Did the Iraq war have a body bag effect? (2012)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Language, Social and Political Sciences
University of Canterbury. Media and Communications
University of Canterbury. Political Science
- Arts: Journal Articles 
AuthorsBahador, Babak, Walker, Scottshow all
Did mounting troop casualties during the Iraq War tum the American public against the conflict? Analyzing public opinion data from over 400 public polls during the first six years of the war, this article attempts to identify whether there was a "body bag effect" in play. We create a multivariate model that tests a number of potential hypotheses including cumulative and marginal troop casualty as well as death milestone effects. We find that cumulative casualties provide a better explanation for the decline in public support than marginal casualties during the Iraq War. Contrary to the findings from the Korean and Vietnam Wars, this holds true during both periods of escalation and de-escalation.
CitationBahador, B., Walker, S. (2012) Did the Iraq war have a body bag effect?. American Review of Politics, 33(Fall/Winter), pp. 247-270.
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