When POTUS Does (Not) Get What He Wants - A Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Presidential Success on the Substance of Legislation
36 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
The evaluation of the presidents’ record of lawmaking has been a cornerstone of the study of U.S. congressional-presidential relations for decades. While most of the scholarship has focused on presidential success analyzing presidential victories and defeats or margins of support on roll call votes, much less attention has been paid to what Beckmann and Kumar (2011: 17) call “the paramount metric of presidential success”: his success on the substance of legislation.
This paper ties in with the latter line of research offering new perspectives on this topic, both empirically as well as methodologically. It asks to what extent and under what combination(s) of conditions the president can act successfully in the legislative arena. Focusing on the substance of legislation, presidential legislative success is conceptualized as the degree to which the final bill maintains the president’s preferences. Methodologically, it introduces the approach of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to the field of American politics. The preliminary analysis in this paper on important legislation passed during the administrations of Barack Obama (2009-2012) and George W. Bush (2001-2008) demonstrates that three pathways exist to explain presidential success on the substance of legislation.
Keywords: US presidency, legislative success, legislative arena, presidential influence, fsQCA
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