This Independent Study tackles to question of, how do, or if, a president’s Leadership Traits show him to respond to political constraints during his decision-making process. The idea of public opinion polls have been around since the beginning of the democracy style of government. Either Americans believe that public opinion has much effect on public policy or no effect at all on public policy. I establish a hypothesis which predicted that if presidents prove to be more sensitive to political constraints through Leadership Trait Analysis (LTA) then that president will be more inclined to consider public opinion during his decision-making process. Through LTA I have chosen the traits of Need for Power, Self-Confidence, and Amount of Distrust of Others. I utilize a case study design of four different cases in both the foreign and domestic policy realm to test my hypothesis. Two for George H. W. Bush, The Persian Gulf War and the S&L Bank Bail Out of 1989. The other two for George W. Bush, The Iraq War and The Bank Bail Out of 2008. Results showed that no matter the results of LTA a president will almost completely negate public opinion all together. This result is much more prominent in the foreign policy realm. When it comes to the domestic policy realm the president does speak about public opinion more, but it is only in the reactive tense not in the proactive tense.


van Doorn, Bas


Political Science


Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy


Public Opinion, Leadership Trait Analysis, Decision-making process

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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