AUTHOR's NOTE: I wish to thank George Edwards, Ken Meier, Anna Ivy, and Rob Barrett for their help and useful comments. I also wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Center for Presidential Studies in the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
Going Public as a Legislative Weapon: Measuring Presidential Appeals Regarding Specific Legislation
Article first published online: 8 FEB 2005
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 35, Issue 1, pages 1–10, March 2005
How to Cite
BARRETT, A. W. (2005), Going Public as a Legislative Weapon: Measuring Presidential Appeals Regarding Specific Legislation. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 35: 1–10. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2004.00232.x
- Issue published online: 8 FEB 2005
- Article first published online: 8 FEB 2005
This article examines the public appeals of three modern presidents (Carter, Reagan, and the first Bush) concerning 253 significant pieces of legislation. It shows that these occupants of the Oval Office took their case to the American people only a few times regarding most of the bills examined. This finding holds across a number of measures of presidential appeals, including general appeals, calls for public and congressional action, television and radio appeals, and appeals made outside of Washington, DC. The presidents analyzed were more likely to speak in support of rather than in opposition to legislation, however. They also went public repeatedly regarding a handful of proposals, particularly their own initiatives.