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The Obama presidency, public position-taking, and mass opinion

Author(s): Canes-Wrone, Brandice; Kelly, Jason P

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Abstract: This article examines the degree to which President Obama's public positions are congruent with mass opinion, and compares his position-taking behavior with that of recent administrations. We consider the impact of congressional agenda setting and the electoral cycle on the degree of congruence between Obama's positions and public opinion. Additionally, we investigate whether positions that were only marginally popular early in the term have retained support. The findings indicate that Obama's presidency resembles other recent administrations in terms of policy congruence. First, blame-game politics between the president and opposition party have significantly reduced policy congruence. Second, for recurring issues, electoral proximity appears to be correlated with higher congruence. Finally, as in other recent administrations, the overall level of responsiveness is not significantly greater than one would expect by chance. © 2013 Northeastern Political Science Association.
Publication Date: 1-Jan-2013
Citation: Canes-Wrone, B, Kelly, JP. (2013). The Obama presidency, public position-taking, and mass opinion. Polity, 45 (1), 85 - 104. doi:10.1057/pol.2012.27
DOI: doi:10.1057/pol.2012.27
ISSN: 0032-3497
EISSN: 1744-1684
Pages: 85 - 104
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Polity
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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