During times of domestic turmoil, the use of force abroad becomes an appealing strategy to US presidents in hopes of diverting attention away from internal conditions and toward a foreign policy success. Weaponized drone technology presents a low cost and potentially high-reward option to embattled presidents. While generally covert operations, drone strikes are frequently reported in the media, making them a viable diversionary tool. To gauge whether drone strikes are in fact capable of diverting the public’s attention, we surveyed 1198 Americans and find that a successful drone strike increases presidential approval despite a weak and sagging economy, and the impact of diversionary drone use is significantly greater than that which accompanies traditional diversionary methods.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
Version of Record
Boddery, Scott S., and Graig R. Klein. “Presidential Use of Diversionary Drone Force and Public Support.” Research & Politics, (April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1177/20531680211019904.