Kasey Rhee '21, who majored in Quantitative Social Science while studying at Dartmouth, recently co-authored an article in Political Research Quarterly titled, "Decider in Chief? Why and How the Public Exaggerates the Power of the Presidency." One of Kasey's co-authors is Professor Brendan Nyhan, a member of the Steering Committee of the QSS and Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
The abstract of the article is as follows:
Democratic accountability requires that citizens accurately attribute credit and blame to leaders and institutions. However, citizens tend to simplify politics by personifying the state as its leader and directing credit and blame accordingly. Using an expert survey and a five-wave public panel survey spanning two administrations, we contrast public and expert perceptions of presidential power. We demonstrate that the public exaggerates the president's powers relative to scholarly experts and that people who exaggerate presidential powers most are more likely to attribute blame to the president. However, a change in partisan control of the presidency shifts perceptions of power among partisans. Finally, we find suggestive evidence of similar shifts in belief after salient policy failures. These results provide the most direct evidence to date that citizens generally exaggerate the president's influence and control but that these beliefs change over time in response to events.
Kasey is currently a doctoral student in political science at Stanford University.