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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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Strategic Position with the Public

Strategic Position with the Public

(p.15) Chapter 2 Strategic Position with the Public
Predicting the Presidency

George C. Edwards III

Princeton University Press

This chapter illustrates the advantages of focusing on the president’s existing opportunity structure by analyzing Barack Obama’s strategic position with the public to explain why he faced such difficulties in obtaining the public’s support. It argues that all presidents wishing to make important changes in public policy should seek to answer the following questions about their strategic position with public opinion: Did the public provide the president an electoral mandate for his policies? Does the public support the general direction of the president’s policies? How polarized is public opinion? How malleable is public opinion? By answering these questions, we are in a strong position to understand the potential of presidential leadership of the public and more importantly, to predict the likelihood of the president obtaining the public’s support for his programs.

Keywords:   opportunity structure, Barack Obama, strategic position, public policy, public opinion, mandate, presidential leadership

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