The impact of the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran on the U.S. Presidential election of 1980
Houlton, Tyler Quill.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Over the last century, U.S.-Iranian relations have been turbulent at best. As the United States pressed for more influence in Iranian affairs, due to Iran's strategic location and natural resources, we created a backlash from the Iranian population.; After ousting Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 with the help of the British, the Iranian population became more incensed with the United States and its support of the Shah of Iran. This, in turn, helped fuel Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution in Iran twenty six years later.; The Islamic revolution in Iran, led by Muslim cleric Khomeini, proved to be a serious setback for U.S.-Iranian relations. The seizure of the American embassy in Tehran by the Muslim Students Following the Imam's Line, a radicalized Islamist student group, caused an international crisis for U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his administration. Over the course of the 444 day crisis, national media outlets constantly targeted Carter and his mishandling of the Iranian hostage crisis. Nightline, hosted by Ted Koppel, counted the amount of days the hostages had been held during each broadcast.; As negotiation attempts by President Carter to release the hostages proved futile, the American military attempted a rescue mission that ultimately failed. President Carter's reelection hopes depended on releasing the American hostages safely and in a timely manner.; Polling of the American electorate was an important instrument at gauging public opinion on the Iranian hostage crisis and the national economy. With unending media coverage of the crisis, the assumption was that the Iranian hostage crisis fueled an anti-Carter sentiment that led to his presidential reelection loss in 1980 to California Governor Ronald Reagan. However, this proved not to be the case. Polling during the 1980 presidential election year showed an overwhelming majority of the electorate viewed the national economy, the high unemployment rate, the high inflation rate, and high gas prices as the motivating factors behind their votes for president.; International crises rarely impact national presidential elections. The Iranian hostage crisis, although important to American voters, was not the driving issue behind their votes for Ronald Reagan over President Jimmy Carter. According to polling, the weakened American economy was the most important issue facing America and it was this issue that sunk Carter's reelection bid.
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