The demise of the two presidencies Academic Article uri icon


  • Presidential-congressional relations scholars have long debated whether the president is more successful on foreign policy than on domestic policy (Wildavsky, 1966). The debate has focused on differential success rates between foreign and domestic policy and whether the gap has narrowed over time. This focus, however, neglects an important dimension of Wildavsky's argument. Wildavsky also argued that presidents should dominate Congress in foreign policy. Hence, the thesis predicts high levels of success on foreign policy as well as differences between foreign and domestic policy. Looking at the trends in success on foreign and domestic votes, we observe that whereas the difference between foreign and domestic success rates shows up consistently for minority presidents, the absolute level of support on foreign and defense issues has declined since the second Reagan administration. Analysis of opposition party base behavior reveals that foreign policy voting has become considerably more partisan.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fleisher, R., Bond, J. R., Krutz, G. S., & Hanna, S.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Fleisher, R||Bond, JR||Krutz, GS||Hanna, S

publication date

  • January 2000