A Theory of Public Appeals

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:
A Theory of Public Appeals

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This chapter presents a theoretical framework of presidential appeals to the public. The framework, or the Public Appeals Theory, focuses on the relations among presidents, congressional members, and voters, combining elements of standard veto models with an explicit role for the mass electorate. The chapter begins by describing the intuition behind a simple spatial model. It proceeds to discuss how the intuition of this model is influenced by assumptions regarding the cost of appealing to the public and the president's ability to alter citizens' policy preferences. Finally, following the literatures on public opinion and presidential power, it discusses how various assumptions are likely to differ between the contexts of foreign and domestic affairs. For example, research on public opinion suggests that citizens are less informed about foreign policy and that a president can thus more easily alter preferences over these issues. Consistent with this distinction, the hypotheses derived from the theory differ between the two domains.

Keywords: public appeals; presidential appeals; Public Appeals Theory; congressional members; spatial model; foreign policy

Chapter.  12887 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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