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The Casualty GapThe Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities$
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Douglas Kriner and Francis Shen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390964.001.0001

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Political Ramifications of the Vietnam Casualty Gap

Political Ramifications of the Vietnam Casualty Gap

(p.131) 6 Political Ramifications of the Vietnam Casualty Gap
The Casualty Gap

Douglas L. Kriner (Contributor Webpage)

Francis X. Shen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the following questions: All else being equal, do high local casualty rates erode residents' support for war and increase their willingness to vote against incumbent politicians? Or, do citizens from high-casualty communities, on average, rally behind a military operation and its political leaders? To answer these questions, the analysis proceeds in two parts. Beginning with the Vietnam War, the chapter first examines the effect of casualties on changes in public evaluations of the war over time. Specifically, it examines the influence of local casualties on respondents' judgment of whether the United States should ever have entered the Vietnam War at all and on their support for withdrawing U.S. forces from the fight. Having established a strong link between local casualty rates and policy attitudes, the analysis next investigates whether these differential opinions on the war manifested themselves in different voting patterns.

Keywords:   war casualties, public opinion, voting patterns, Vietnam War

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