Presidential Legislative Skills as a Source of Influence in Congress Academic Article uri icon


  • Presidents and their aides devote a substantial amount of time and effort to dealing with Congress and are often criticized for being ineffective at it. This paper examines the question of whether presidential legislative skills (ranging from bargaining and personal persuasion to organizing constituency pressures and providing services) are an important source of influence in Congress. After evaluating alternative approaches to studying this question, we adopt a strategy of comparing the presidential support of similar groups of members of the House and Senate across presidents of the same party. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we fail to find differences in support that are consistent with differences in presidential legislative skills. Alternative explanations for these findings are examined in an in-depth comparison between Presidents Johnson and Carter.

published proceedings

  • Presidential Studies Quarterly

author list (cited authors)

  • Edwards, G. C.

complete list of authors

  • Edwards, GC

publication date

  • January 1980