The Contemporary Presidency Explaining Presidential Greatness: The Roles of Peace and Prosperity?
Article first published online: 13 JUL 2010
© 2010 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 515–530, September 2010
How to Cite
CURRY, J. L. and MORRIS, I. L. (2010), The Contemporary Presidency Explaining Presidential Greatness: The Roles of Peace and Prosperity?. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40: 515–530. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2010.03784.x
- Issue published online: 13 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 13 JUL 2010
Research on presidential greatness has a long history in the study of the American presidency. A prominent aspect of this literature is the study of presidential ratings generated from surveys of both experts and average Americans. A considerable body of research suggests that a relatively small number of factors—such as time in office, intellectual brilliance, and whether a president was assassinated—explain a great deal of the variation in the ratings. However, this list of variables includes no indicators of policy performance. We propose two such measures—one focusing on economic outcomes and one focusing on the outcomes of military conflict—and provide rationales for the hypothesized relationships between these measures of policy performance and presidential ratings. We find evidence of a substantial relationship between economic policy success and presidential ratings. However, there is no evidence of a relationship between foreign policy success and presidential ratings.