Presidential Responsiveness to Public Opinion

James N Druckman*, Lawrence R. Jacobs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This article explores the president's emergence as a 'representative'. It also presents different definitions of representation and examines research into the modern definition of presidential representativeness - the president's responsiveness to public opinion. A number of complications that studies of responsiveness face is emphasized, including the questions of whether citizens even possess 'real preferences', what specific aspects of preferences leaders respond to, whose preferences they consider, and whether citizens' preferences merely reflect those of elites. In addition, the article outlines the five major and exemplary bodies of research that investigate the extent and nature of presidential representation. Presidential representation varies across dimensions and levels of salience. It is much more complicated, multidimensional, and dynamic than investigations of whether the public's policy preferences align with the president's policies capture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191584855
ISBN (Print)9780199238859
StatePublished - May 2 2010


  • Citizens
  • Policy preferences
  • Presidential representation
  • Presidential responsiveness
  • Public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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