a1 University of Illinois
a2 Purdue University
President watchers worry that the office has become dominated by public relations goals. This notion of a public relations presidency implies that presidents act in deliberate ways to achieve heightened popularity in the polls and in elections. We develop and evaluate a model of presidential activity using data from postwar administrations Truman through Reagan. We also examine the impact of these activities on monthly Gallup approval ratings. There is some evidence that presidents act strategically and reactively in selecting their activities. However, some acts have more impact than others, some help, some hurt, and some make no difference at all.
(Accepted August 02 1991)
(Received July 18 1992)
Paul Brace is associate professor of political science, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607.
Barbara Hinckley is professor of political science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.