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Who Leads Whom?: Presidents, Policy, and the Public (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) Hardcover – December 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0226092805 ISBN-10: 0226092801

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (December 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226092801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226092805
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,723,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“There is a need for such a book that sharpens our thinking and examines the big questions about leadership, responsiveness, and democracy. Indeed, this is a very ambitious book that succeeds in defining, theorizing about, and rigorously examining presidential pandering as well as substantially advancing political thinking and research.”--Robert Shapiro, Columbia University


(Robert Shapiro, Columbia University)

“In the remarkably readable Who Leads Whom? Brandice Canes-Wrone not only integrates and extends innovative formal theories of the president, the Congress, and the public but also subjects these and competing theories to uniquely discriminating empirical tests. Scholars who pine for a new state of the art in presidential research should take note. This is it.”

(Keith Krehbiel, Stanford University)

“Brandice Canes-Wrone raises interesting and important new questions about the public presidency and systematically tests her theorizing. A must-read for presidency scholars.”--George C. Edwards III, editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly


(George C. Edwards III, editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly)

"The book's findings are interesting and help us to better understand both the relationship between presidents and the public, as well as the nature of presidential rhetoric."
(Richard Waterman Governance)

"By explicitly considering how policy is made, Canes-Wrone substantially advances our understanding of when presidents will go public and how these appeals influence policy. Most important, she suggests that public opinion infiuences pohcymaking, but presidents neither manipulate public opinion nor follow it regardless of where it goes. Rather, in some sense, presidents act as agenda setters by playing a role in determining which policies the public will see as salient and Congress will ultimately act on."

(James N. Druckman Public Opinion Quarterly)

From the Inside Flap

With contemporary politics so connected to the pulse of the American people, Who Leads Whom? offers much-needed insight into how public opinion actually works in our democratic process. Analyzing the actions of modern presidents ranging from Eisenhower to Clinton, Brandice Canes-Wrone demonstrates that presidents’ involvement of the mass public, by putting pressure on Congress, shifts policy in the direction of majority opinion. More important, she also shows that presidents rarely cater to the mass citizenry unless they already agree with the public’s preferred course of action. Integrating perspectives from presidential studies, legislative politics, public opinion, and rational choice theory, this theoretical and empirical inquiry will appeal to a wide range of students and scholars of the American political process.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Knut L. Seip on November 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Technology seems to lead a lot. So does economy. Next, what is "in the walls. "And then, maybe, the president and the "mass public" which are the theme of this intriguing book. -For a non-US citizen it is a little strange what is "in the walls"in the US. The US judicial system, for example, is probably just, but dramatically different from those of Europe or Saudi Arabia. Likewise, for a US citizen, the judicial system of Europe may be more alien than Europeans can understand. Thus, this book is about the changes presidents can make, given "the walls".

The title of the book "Who leads whom?" made me interested in the book; it also summarizes nicely what the book is about. I very much like the blend of case studies, theory and statistical tests. The case studies show what to look for, the theory gives ways to look, and the statistical tests show if you looked right, guessed well, and made the right choices in putting the tests up. (See e.g. p 131). In the book chapters 1, 2, 4 and 6 starts with a story about a president, his intentions and his actions (Soon, I hope, I can write his or hers)

The question is if the president is a leader or a follower with respect to the "mass public" (the "public" would probably have done) and as a secondary hypothesis, if he is pandering more as elections approach. In choosing among narrative formulations and ways to express variables numerically, the author makes a series of impressive and convincing choices.

The answer to the secondary hypothesis is "yes", as it- probably should be. And it strengthens the case made to test the rest of the hypotheses.
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Who Leads Whom?: Presidents, Policy, and the Public (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)
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