This essay employs archival data and myriad interviews with principals from the Bush administration to explore how George Herbert Walker Bush used public opinion research in the process of rhetorical invention throughout his presidency. The author argues that Bush's aversion to political marketing, disdain for rhetoric, and bifurcation between campaigning and governance created a president whose instrumental poll usage for rhetorical purposes was much less than his predecessor, and intentionally so.

I believe that President Bush's attitude toward polls must have been about the same as it was toward speeches. that it was not legitimate, that it was not real leadership, that it was somehow phony and artificial.