Agenda Setting from the Oval Office: An Experimental Examination of Presidential Influence over the Public Agenda
This study employs an experimental approach to isolate and directly test the extent to which presidents can affect public perceptions of issue importance and support for policy action, taking into consideration key factors that condition such effects. Our findings provide new empirical evidence that presidents can, in fact, positively influence public opinion through agenda setting, particularly by increasing the perceptual importance of low salience foreign policy issues. However, the results also indicate that such positive effects do not translate into public support for policy action; instead, presidential appeals actually decrease support. Last, our study offers new evidence that employing bipartisan cues can help presidents further increase public perceptions of issue importance, though such cues are unlikely to spur increased support.
José D. Villalobos and Cigdem V. Sirin. "Agenda Setting from the Oval Office: An Experimental Examination of Presidential Influence over the Public Agenda" International Journal of Public Opinion Research 24.1 (2012): 21-41.