Political communication and agroterrorism


This article reports results of a survey on consumer perceptions about agroterrorism conducted in October and November of 2004. As part of a more general survey the authors asked respondents who the most likely perpetrator of an agroterrorist attack would be. Of American consumers, 47.52% believed that the most likely attack would come from a state-sponsored terrorist organization or government, 23.47% from a non-state-sponsored terrorist organization, and only 14.46% for domestic terrorism. The article argues that at the time of the survey these perceptions of risk were at odds, in terms of history and the conventional wisdom, which would place higher likelihoods first on domestic terrorism, then foreign non-state-sponsored terrorism, and then foreign state-sponsored terrorism. These results are explored in detail using a combination of cross tabulation and PROBIT analysis and find that a key variable (among others) in risk perception is political affiliation. The article then discusses the role of political communication via the Iraq War and Al Qaeda to explain the results.

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Studies in Conflict and Terrorism