The President in a More Partisan Legislative Arena Academic Article uri icon


  • This article updates our previous analysis of presidential success from 1953 to 1984 (Bond and Fleisher 1990) to see how increased partisanship in the House since 1985 has altered presidential-congressional relations. We ana lyze support from the four party factions in Congress (liberal Democrats, conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and conservative Republi cans) and the types of coalitions that formed on presidential votes in the House. The results present a mixed picture of how elevated partisanship altered the nature of presidential-congressional relations. We found an in crease in the tendency for partisan coalitions to form under recent minor ity presidents. This tendency, however, did not continue under unified government in the 103rd Congress. The analysis of presidential success rates under different coalitional structures provides more evidence that increased partisanship has altered presidential-congressional relations. Reagan in his second term and Bush lost more often than previous minor ity presidents when partisan coalitions formed. In contrast, Clinton won more party votes than previous majority presidents. Although the litera ture leads us to expect minority presidents to be more successful with ideological and bipartisan coalitions, we find that Reagan and Bush lost more often than previous minority presidents when the House divided on the basis of ideology or when the party bases acted in a bipartisan fashion.

author list (cited authors)

  • Fleisher, R., & Bond, J. R.

publication date

  • January 1, 1996 11:11 AM