"This book offers one of the most comprehensive empirical analyses of presidential rhetoric and public opinion. It is original, methodologically rigorous, and important to scholars of the presidency and the relationship of public opinion and policy more generally." - Lawrence Jacobs, coauthor of Politicians Don't Pander"
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.