One of the most often used strategies for modern presidents to achieve their legislative goals is going public. However, while it has become clear that presidents are not particularly able to create shifts in public opinion using this strategy, it has been shown that going public is statistically correlated with increased chances of legislative success. I hypothesize that this is because going public acts on Congress itself, rather than the public, and that changes in the Congressional political factors, particularly polarization and unified vs divided government, will influence the effectiveness of going public. After analyzing significant legislation over a 36-year time period, I find that going public is significantly more effective under conditions of unified government and high polarization.


van Dorrn, Bas


Political Science


president, going public, congress

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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