Vaughn, Justin Scott (2007-12). Presidential responsiveness to public opinion. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • In this dissertation, I examine the determinants of presidential responsiveness to public opinion, employing a theory of context and venue that explains why presidents are more responsive at some times and in certain policy making venues than at other times and in other venues. To test this theory, I create a new direct measure of presidential responsiveness to public opinion, a measure that quantifies the ideological distance between presidential policy positions and public policy preferences. I develop versions of this measure in four important venues of the modern presidency: relations with the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, the unilateral administrative presidency, and the president's rhetoric. Using time-series regression techniques, I analyze the influence that factors such as political context, electoral context, institutional context, and venue visibility have on the dynamics of presidential responsiveness scores. The results indicate that although the president's policy position taking responds to public opinion dynamics, there is no clear contextual factor that conditions this responsiveness.
  • In this dissertation, I examine the determinants of presidential responsiveness to
    public opinion, employing a theory of context and venue that explains why presidents are
    more responsive at some times and in certain policy making venues than at other times
    and in other venues. To test this theory, I create a new direct measure of presidential
    responsiveness to public opinion, a measure that quantifies the ideological distance
    between presidential policy positions and public policy preferences. I develop versions
    of this measure in four important venues of the modern presidency: relations with the
    U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, the unilateral administrative presidency, and
    the president's rhetoric. Using time-series regression techniques, I analyze the influence
    that factors such as political context, electoral context, institutional context, and venue
    visibility have on the dynamics of presidential responsiveness scores. The results
    indicate that although the president's policy position taking responds to public opinion
    dynamics, there is no clear contextual factor that conditions this responsiveness.

publication date

  • December 2007