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Cambridge University Press
The Myth of Presidential Representation

The Myth of Presidential Representation

by B. Dan WoodB. Dan Wood
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In The Myth of Presidential Representation, B. Dan Wood evaluates the nature of American presidential representation, examining the strongly embedded belief - held by the country's founders, as well as current American political culture and social science theory - that presidents should represent the community at large. Citizens expect presidents to reflect prevailing public sentiment and compromise in the national interest. Social scientists express these same ideas through theoretical models depicting presidential behavior as driven by centrism and issue stances adhering to the median voter. Yet partisanship seems to be a dominant theme of modern American politics. Do American presidents adhere to a centrist model of representation as envisioned by the founders? Or, do presidents typically attempt to lead the public toward their own more partisan positions? If so, how successful are they? What are the consequences of centrist versus partisan presidential representation? The Myth of Presidential Representation addresses these questions both theoretically and empirically.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521133425
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/22/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

B. Dan Wood holds the Cornerstone Fellowship at Texas A&M University. He is the author of The Politics of Economic Leadership: The Causes and Consequences of Presidential Rhetoric (2007) and coauthor of Bureaucratic Dynamics: The Role of Bureaucracy in a Democracy (1994), as well as numerous scholarly articles. Professor Wood has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Political Science, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, Political Research Quarterly, and American Politics Quarterly and is a frequent instructor at the European Consortium for Political Research summer methods program at the University of Essex.

Table of Contents

1. The nature of presidential representation; 2. The centrist and partisan theories of presidential representation; 3. Measuring mass preferences and presidential issue stances; 4. Evaluating the centrist vs. partisan models of presidential representation; 5. Presidential persuasion and the mass public; 6. Centrism, partisanship, and public approval of the president's job performance; 7. The efficacy for American democracy of non-centrist, partisan presidential representation.

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