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Exorcising Scandal in the White House: Presidential Polling in Times of Crisis

Authors

  • BRANDON ROTTINGHAUS,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Idaho
      Brandon Rottinghaus is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Bureau of Public Affairs Research at the University of Idaho. His recent work has appeared in Political Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, and Congress and the Presidency.
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  • ZLATA BEREZNIKOVA

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Idaho
      Zlata Bereznikova graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Idaho in 2006 and is currently attending law school.
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  • AUTHORS' NOTE: We would like to thank Northwestern University and the White House Studies Association for financial assistance.

Brandon Rottinghaus is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Bureau of Public Affairs Research at the University of Idaho. His recent work has appeared in Political Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, and Congress and the Presidency.

Zlata Bereznikova graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Idaho in 2006 and is currently attending law school.

Abstract

Several important works have addressed the issue of scandal in the White House; however, no study has used internal White House archival polling data to explore the phenomenon of presidential recovery from scandal. In this research note, we expand the analysis of presidential polling and connect these internal procedures to times of scandal in the White House across two presidents and three scandals. We identify four questions the White House is concerned with (through the polling) and we suggest polling is uniquely helpful in identifying answers to these questions that gauge the depth of presidential involvement, the ability of the president to continue to govern, the importance of the scandal to the public, and the fairness of the media.

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