Rethinking Presidential Responsiveness: The Public Presidency and Rhetorical Congruency, 1953—2001

Rottinghaus, Brandon
August 2006
Journal of Politics;Aug2006, Vol. 68 Issue 3, p720
Academic Journal
Several studies have examined the relationship between presidential action and public opinion; however, few explore a direct and continuous connection between presidential rhetoric and public opinion. To measure presidential rhetorical congruence with opinion, I construct a data set of matched opinion and policy statements from Presidents Eisenhower to Clinton. Confirming expectations (while contradicting others), I find no differences in congruent position taking between presidents who served earlier (Eisenhower to Ford) from those who served later (Carter to Clinton). Importantly, the election effect discovered in the president’s first term is repeated in the second term in advance of midterm or presidential elections. Methods of public communication present mixed results; statements made on television are less likely to be congruent with public opinion in the first term (but more likely in the second term) while statements made in public speeches are positive for second-term presidents, both points suggesting presidents do not “go quietly” into retirement.


Related Articles

  • KEY STATE-NEW YORK.  // Time;10/27/1952, Vol. 60 Issue 18, p28 

    The article examines the electoral situation in New York, which is considered as a key state in the U.S. election, as of 1952. Majority of voters in the city, which comprises of five counties, are Democratic while those in the suburbs with three counties are usually Republican. It mentions that...

  • The Omens.  // Time;10/20/1952, Vol. 60 Issue 17, p33 

    The article focuses on the results of surveys of U.S. voters on which political parties and presidential candidates are preferred to win in the 1952 election. A Gallup poll revealed that 45% of respondents chose Republican Party while 38% selected Democratic and 17% of the surveyed voters were...

  • Starting Position.  // Time; 

    The article deals with the results of a survey conducted by U.S. pollster George Gallup regarding the presidential election in the U.S. in 1952. Based on the poll, 47 per cent of the respondents would like to see Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower win. Gallup mentioned that the figures in...

  • Eisenhower's 1955 heart attack. Gilbert, Robert E. // Politics & the Life Sciences;Mar2008, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p2 

    During his first term as President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered several serious illnesses. Particularly important was the massive heart attack he experienced in the fall of 1955. Drawing on primary sources as well as prior scholarship, this article analyzes varying...

  • The Myth of Second-Term Failure. GREENBERG, DAVID // New Republic;12/6/2012, Vol. 243 Issue 18, p19 

    The author discusses the potential for success and failure for U.S. President Barack Obama in his second term after the 2012 election. Bipartisanship, opposition party conflict, and the experience of second term presidents are discussed, and the policies of presidents such as Bill Clinton,...

  • 1952: 48 STATES IN THE UNION. Hamby, Alonzo L. // Running for President: The Candidates & Their Images 1900-1992 V;1994, Vol. 2, p255 

    The presidential campaign of 1952, which witnessed the victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower displayed characteristics of U.S. political campaigning that date from the inception of mass parties in the early 19th century. The emergence of television in campaigning coincided with the movement of...

  • Washington Front. PARSONS, WILFRID // America;11/17/1956, Vol. 96 Issue 7, p189 

    The author reflects on isolationism as an issue in the 1956 presidential election in the U.S. in the wake of tragic events in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He claims that even President Dwight D. Eisenhower said that the U.S. has carried its foreign involvement too far and too deep for it...

  • Washington Front. PARSONS, WILFRID // America;9/29/1956, Vol. 95 Issue 26, p610 

    The author comments on the 1956 presidential campaign in the U.S. He relates some amusing stories related to the presidential campaign. He cites the order issued by the Republican party that all of its candidates should use "Democrat party" in referring to the opposition. He also mentions the...

  • The Will of the People.  // Time;11/10/1952, Vol. 60 Issue 20, p23 

    The article analyzes the results of the November 1952 presidential election, which was won by a large margin by Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower. The victory of the Republicans meant that industrial workers turned to Eisenhower after being wooed by the Democrats, that Southerners were...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics