The Importance Of Presidential Popularity

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As the elected leader of the United States, the President’s job is to represent the nation as well as the American people. Chief of state, chief executive, chief diplomat, and chief administrator define just a few of the various capacities the president is required to fill, all while maintaining a solid reputation and serving as a quintessential example of what it means to be an American. The citizens of the United States have consistently proven to have high expectations of the president, however unrealistic these expectations may be. Following the end of the Second World War and the initiation of the modern presidency, measuring the success of the president has become increasingly important. Approval ratings have consistently been an …show more content…
Presidential speeches and public perception represent a more salient feature of presidential popularity. By delivering a speech, namely in the form of a nationally televised address, the president has the ability to interact with the general public, whether the purpose is to inform, persuade, acknowledge a significant event, or set an agenda. Speeches are often considered a general expectation of the American president, but do they make presidents more …show more content…
In fact, “during the past twenty years, the relationship between the president’s approval level and his ability to influence public opinion has moved from an article of faith…to a standard research topic of political science” (Kernell 2007, 191). Because there is only one president for the nearly 320 million Americans, speeches are perhaps the best way for the president to engage with the general public. This paper seeks to examine the effect of televised speeches on presidential approval ratings. Analyzing the impact of major speeches on former President Ronald Reagan’s approval ratings will illustrate that overall, President Reagan’s speeches did indeed make him more popular with the public. While the data collected cannot provide a definitive or comprehensive explanation for all forty-four American presidents, it yields an interesting and often underscored point— that presidential speeches can in fact have an impact on popularity. Based on the evidence collected, Ronald Reagan may be considered a brilliant example of how a president can use speeches to influence public opinion. A notable amount of research rejects the notion that speeches can improve presidential approval ratings, but a close analysis shows that a considerable number of President Reagan’s major speeches increased his

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