Trump’s supporters don’t care about his flip-flop on Syria. GVPT Professor Sarah Croco and graduate student Jared McDonald checked.
Via Professor Croco and Jared McDonald in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage:
On April 6, President Trump authorized an airstrike against a Syrian air base in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on civilians. This was an abrupt about-face for Trump. In one tweet in September 2013, he chided then-President Barack Obama for being a “very foolish leader” for contemplating an attack on Syria, warning that “many bad things will happen the U.S. gets nothing.”
Did Trump’s “flip-flop” on military intervention in Syria hurt him?
According to conventional wisdom, it should hurt his approval ratings, because reversals allegedly make leaders look wishy-washy, unpredictable and untrustworthy. Several op-eds made this point in the days after the attack. Much of the political science literature on this topic agrees. Political scientists have argued that leaders pay a political price for such a stark reversal, especially about an international powder keg like Syria.
[In 3 charts, here’s how President Trump’s tweets differ from Candidate Trump’s tweets]
But in a study we conducted right after the president’s Syria intervention, we found that Trump’s flip-flop didn’t hurt him much at all. Instead, people viewed his action through the lens of their existing views of Trump...
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