My basic research question is: What factors affect public evaluations of the president? Certainly academics have spilled a lot of ink on this subject. A large literature identifies three classes of variables as “fundamental”: economic performance, partisan polarization in the electorate, and structural features of the political system such as separation of powers. I hope to improve our understanding of the relative importance of the fundamentals over time using monthly approval data. The analysis will cover the period from 1952 to 2012. While my central focus will be on the American presidency, the project will also include a brief comparative analysis of presidential and prime ministerial approval ratings across countries, which I believe will serve to illuminate unique features of American government and relate them to executive popularity.
Looking forward to reading and hearing about everyone’s project —