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Presidents and Parties in the Public Mind$
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Gary C. Jacobson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226589206

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226589480.001.0001

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Ten Conclusion
Presidents and Parties in the Public Mind

Gary C. Jacobson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter summarizes the findings reported in the previous chapters. It notes that although every post-war president has had a demonstrable impact on his party’s public standing, the size of that impact has varied somewhat across presidencies. These variations do not, however, map readily onto variations in how presidents have dealt with the parties as institutions in or out of Congress or onto variations in the configuration of political forces they have confronted. The patterns in the data are not always consistent, but both Reagan and Obama tend to stand out as having been particularly influential. Obama in particular became an unusually compelling focal point for the organization of political attitudes, including attitudes toward the Democratic Party. The early numbers show Trump’s impact on attitudes toward his party to be even larger than Obama’s. Whether this pattern persists beyond his first year in office remains to be determined; however it evolves, Trump’s presidency promises to provide a thorough retest of many of the claims made in this book.

Keywords:   presidents, party standing, elections, public opinion, party identification, party competence

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