Chapter

Presidents' Involvement of the Mass Public

in Who Leads Whom?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226092805
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226092492 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226092492.003.0001
Presidents' Involvement of the Mass Public

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The institution of the American presidency has long been seen to encourage policymaking that caters to mass opinion, potentially at the expense of societal welfare. Today this issue is as pertinent as ever. Mass communications afford a readily available means of appealing to the public. Polling is an integral component of White House operations. Thus to the extent that presidents' arousing and monitoring of public opinion do indeed induce policymaking that harms society, the detrimental impact should be as great as it ever has been. This book analyzes how policymaking in Washington is in fact affected by presidential activities. In particular, it examines the impact of presidents' public appeals and polling. Throughout, the book refers to these activities as presidents' involvement of the mass public. The book assesses both whether this involvement increases the impact of mass opinion on policymakers' decisions, as well as the degree to which any such impact entails presidents following mass opinion when they believe doing so is not in citizens' long-term interests.

Keywords: mass public; American presidency; policymaking; mass communications; polling; public opinion

Chapter.  5890 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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