American roulette: The effect of reminders of death on support for George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election

Florette Cohen, Daniel M. Ogilvie, Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to assess the effect of a subtle reminder of death on voting intentions for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. On the basis of terror management theory and previous research, we hypothesized that a mortality salience induction would increase support for President George W. Bush and decrease support for Senator John Kerry. In late September 2004, following a mortality salience or control induction, registered voters were asked which candidate they intended to vote for. In accord with predictions, Senator John Kerry received substantially more votes than George Bush in the control condition, but Bush was favored over Kerry following a reminder of death, suggesting that President Bush's re-election may have been facilitated by nonconscious concerns about mortality in the aftermath of September 11, 2002.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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