Flip-Flops and High Heels: An Experimental Analysis of Elite Position Change and Gender on Wartime Public Support


Croco, Sarah E., and Scott Sigmund Gartner. 2014. “Flip-Flops and High Heels: An Experimental Analysis of Elite Position Change and Gender on
Wartime Public Support.” International Interactions 40 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1080/03050629.2013.863195.


Authors: Sarah E. Croco, Scott Sigmund Gartner


We address whether politicians’ flip-flopping on support for a war is damaging to their electoral fortunes, and if the gender of the politician has a conditioning effect on this relationship. A series of survey experiments, conducted in 2010 and designed specifically for this project, allows us to examine the causal power of these two cues. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom: respondents do not fault leaders who change their minds about a conflict, and importantly, this effect holds irrespective of the gender of the politician. Instead, individuals react to the policy position the politician currently holds on a war regardless of the politician's consistency and gender.

Keywords: conflict, foreign policy, public opinion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender Analysis, Governance

Year: 2014

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