The President's Role in the Partisan Congressional Arena
Journal of Politics 73(3): 718-734, July 2011
17 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013
Date Written: July 1, 2011
Models of presidential success have sometimes focused on the importance of political capital and sometimes looked at the partisan environment of Congress. We develop time-series models of success that refine and integrate these perspectives while reframing the matter in terms of research on congressional parties. Measures of the ideological and partisan makeup of Congress are used to explain presidential success from 1953 to 2006 but the approval of the president’s base is important as well. We also show the electoral consequences to congressional parties of presidential success — congressional parties gain and lose seats based on the battles won and lost by the president. This gives legislators (not) of his party an incentive to see his agenda implemented (defeated). Studying both the causes and consequences of presidential success in Congress is meant to integrate theories of the two institutions along with extant theories of party behavior.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation