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Abstract: This article analyzes the high and sustained levels of popular support for President Bush’s policies during the Gulf War using a composite model of public opinion formation drawing on the rally around the flag effect noted by political scientists, the spiral of silence hypothesis drawn from communications studies, and the concepts of priming and framing drawn from political psychology. By linking the aggregate effects noted in the rally and spiral of silence hypotheses with models of individual cognitive processes, the composite model explains, better than either the rally or the spiral hypothesis alone, the sudden shift toward supporting the use of force on January 16, 1991 and the high levels of support that persisted through July.

The Media and the Gulf War: Framing, Priming, and the Spiral of Silence

Barbara Allen; Paula O’Loughlin; Amy Jasperson; John L. Sullivan
Polity, Vol. 27, No. 2. (Winter, 1994), pp. 255-284.