Presidential Responsiveness to Public Opinion

James N. Druckman and Lawrence R. Jacobs

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Presidential Responsiveness to Public Opinion

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This article explores the president's emergence as a ‘representative’. It also presents different definitions of representation and examines research into the modern definition of presidential representativeness — the president's responsiveness to public opinion. A number of complications that studies of responsiveness face is emphasized, including the questions of whether citizens even possess ‘real preferences’, what specific aspects of preferences leaders respond to, whose preferences they consider, and whether citizens' preferences merely reflect those of elites. In addition, the article outlines the five major and exemplary bodies of research that investigate the extent and nature of presidential representation. Presidential representation varies across dimensions and levels of salience. It is much more complicated, multidimensional, and dynamic than investigations of whether the public's policy preferences align with the president's policies capture.

Keywords: presidential responsiveness; public opinion; presidential representation; citizens; policy preferences

Article.  9837 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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