Cornell has finally quantified the boast to Bush for a terror alert.
When the federal government issues a terrorist warning, presidential approval ratings jump, a Cornell University sociologist finds. Interestingly, terrorist warnings also boost support for the president on issues that are largely irrelevant to terrorism, such as his handling of the economy.The full report is here, and as Kevin Drum notes, the result of each terror warning leads to an average increase in the president's approval rating of 2.75% and the increase lasts for about a week — possibly two weeks at the outside. The study controlled for events such as 9/11 and the capture of Saddam.
...."Results showed that terror warnings increased presidential approval ratings consistently," says [researcher Robb] Willer. "They also increased support for Bush's handling of the economy. The findings, however, were inconclusive as to how long this halo effect lasts."
We all knew we were overdue for a terror warning, not having had any since the one immediately following the DNC convention.
Again, as Kevin notes, we can now expect one about 5 days before the election.