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Fear of Death Wins Minds and Votes, Study Finds

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

[Excerpts]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Bush may be tapping into solid human psychology when he invokes the Sept. 11 attacks while campaigning for the next election, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. Talking about death can raise people's need for psychological security, the researchers report in studies to be published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science and the September issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"There are people all over who are claiming every time Bush is in trouble he generates fear by declaring an imminent threat," said Sheldon Solomon of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, who worked on the study. "We are saying this is psychologically useful."

The volunteers were aged from 18 into their 50s and described themselves as ranging from liberal to deeply conservative. No matter what a person's political conviction, thinking about death made them tend to favor Bush, Solomon said. Otherwise, they preferred Kerry.

Originally posted to Jules Siegel on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 06:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fear of death (none)
    I don't know.

    I've been diagnosed and treated for cancer in the time since Bush has been elected. I got chemo the day Wellstone died. Everytime I got hope about my disease, I'd get news about another Bush atrocity.

    All he did for me was depress the hell out of me. At my very worst mood, I would say, "if I can do one thing with the time I have left, I want to make sure Bush does not get re-elected."

  •  a commonly used tactic of all despots (none)
    Bush and Saddam both used this technique to stay in power.

    Ironic, isn't it.

    "Bush lied, thousands died, IMPEACH BUSH NOW!"

    by Sue in NH on Fri Jul 30, 2004 at 12:28:43 AM PDT

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