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Predicting the PresidencyThe Potential of Persuasive Leadership$
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George C., III Edwards

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170374

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170374.001.0001

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Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions

(p.1) Chapter 1 Asking the Right Questions
Predicting the Presidency

George C. Edwards III

Princeton University Press

This book examines the role of presidential leadership in American politics, arguing that the key to successful leadership for the president is not persuasion but the president’s broad strategic position regarding the public, and that to reveal this position requires asking the right questions. It illustrates the advantages of focusing on the president’s existing opportunity structure by analyzing the first two years of Barack Obama’s second term. In particular, it considers Obama’s strategic position—his opportunity structure—with the public to explain why he faced such difficulties in obtaining the public’s support. It also explores the president’s opportunity structure in Congress and how he exploits existing public opinion on policies. Finally, it discusses the importance of strategic assessments in presidential leadership and the leverage they give us in evaluating the likely success of strategies for governing.

Keywords:   presidential leadership, strategic position, opportunity structure, Barack Obama, Congress, public opinion, strategic assessments, persuasion

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