Highlighting the phenomenon of the “rally effect” — the surge in popular support presidents can receive in times of geopolitical crisis — one media outlet just drew attention to the fact that Donald Trump is seeing a bump in his approval ratings since his recent flexing of military muscle.
Writing for Quartz on Monday, Annalisa Merelli points out that as of April 18, after killing scores of civilians via airstrikes in Syria and dropping the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, Trump’s approval rating in polls has gone up around five points compared to the end of March.
Merelli provides Gallup poll numbers that show, as she puts it, how the “rally ‘round the flag” effect of war hysteria can sometimes have on the masses. Presidents Truman, Kennedy and George Bush, Sr., for instance, all saw approval bumps at times of international crisis.
In fact, shortly after Bush’s son entered the White House, he saw a whopping 35 percent boost in popularity when he began military campaigns in the Middle East following 9/11.
Exploring the situation further, Merelli also notes the role the media plays in such matters:
The Syria bombing in particular, news of which Trump shared with his Chinese counterpart over a ‘beautiful chocolate cake,’ gained Trump a new wave of respect from political commentators, especially many otherwise critical of his administration. They rushed to declare his action ‘presidential’ and praise his noble intentions in the Syria attack
Merelli closes by pointing out that while Trump’s boost in support may be small at the moment, the man’s “exploration of America’s military power seems to have only just started.”
That does, indeed, seem to be the case.