Vital Statistics on the Presidency

Vital Statistics on the Presidency

Books

Lyn Ragsdale

Abstract

Looking beyond the individual office holders to the office itself, this Fourth Edition of Vital Statistics on the Presidency covers George Washington's tenure through the 2012 election. The book's expansive view of the presidency allows readers to recognize major themes across administrations and to reach overall conclusions about the nature of the institution and its future. The illuminating data is put into context by thoughtful essays explaining key statistical patterns, making this edition an intriguing and comprehensive reference to important patterns throughout the history of the presidency.

  • Citations
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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Dedication

    In Memory of My Parents, Carolyn and H. E. Ragsdale

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Tables and Figures

    • Chapter 1 Presidents of the United States
      • Table 1-1 U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents, Washington to Obama 18
      • Table 1-2 Personal Backgrounds of U.S. Presidents, Washington to Obama 21
      • Table 1-3 Political Careers of U.S. Presidents Prior to Their Presidencies, Washington to Obama 23
      • Table 1-4 Presidents' Previous Public Positions, Washington to Obama 25
      • Table 1-5 Presidents Who Died in Office 26
      • Table 1-6 Ratings of U.S. Presidents, Washington to Obama 27
      • Table 1-7 Presidents' Ratings from Best to Worst, Washington to Obama 30
      • Table 1-8 American First Ladies 31
    • Chapter 2 Presidential Selection
      • Table 2-1 Democratic National Conventions, 1832–2012 44
      • Table 2-2 Republican National Conventions, 1856–2012 45
      • Table 2-3 The Growth of Presidential Primaries, 1912–2012 46
      • Table 2-4 Presidential Nomination Methods, by State, 1968–2012 47
      • Table 2-5 Types of Presidential Nomination Methods, 1968–2012 51
      • Table 2-6 Presidential Candidates' Delegate Strength from Caucus States and Primary States, 1968–2012 52
      • Table 2-7 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1968 54
      • Table 2-8 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1972 55
      • Table 2-9 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1976 57
      • Table 2-10 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1980 59
      • Table 2-11 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1984 61
      • Table 2-12 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1988 63
      • Table 2-13 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1992 65
      • Table 2-14 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 1996 67
      • Table 2-15 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 2000 69
      • Table 2-16 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 2004 71
      • Table 2-17 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 2008 73
      • Table 2-18 Leading Candidates in Presidential Primaries, 2012 75
      • Table 2-19 Content of Television News Coverage of Primary Campaigns, 1988–2012 77
      • Table 2-20 Positive Television News Coverage of Presidential Candidates, 2000–2012 Primaries 79
      • Table 2-21 Television Coverage and Viewership of National Party Conventions, 1952–2012 81
      • Table 2-22 Profile of National Party Convention Delegates, 1968–2008 83
      • Table 2-23 The 1968 National Political Party Conventions 84
      • Table 2-24 The 1972 National Political Party Conventions 86
      • Table 2-25 The 1976 National Political Party Conventions 88
      • Table 2-26 The 1980 National Political Party Conventions 90
      • Table 2-27 The 1984 National Political Party Conventions 93
      • Table 2-28 The 1988 National Political Party Conventions 96
      • Table 2-29 The 1992 National Political Party Conventions 98
      • Table 2-30 The 1996 National Political Party Conventions 100
      • Table 2-31 The 2000 and 2004 National Political Party Conventions 102
      • Table 2-32 The 2008 National Political Party Conventions 105
      • Table 2-33 The 2012 National Political Party Conventions 108
    • Chapter 3 Presidential Elections
      • Table 3-1 Major-Party Popular and Electoral Votes for President, 1789–2012 125
      • Table 3-2 Candidates Who Won Presidency without Popular Vote Majorities, 1824–2012 128
      • Table 3-3 Comparison of Popular and Electoral Vote Mandates, 1824–2012 129
      • Table 3-4 Significant Third-Party Presidential Candidates, 1824–2012 131
      • Table 3-5 Electoral College Anomalies, 1789–2012 131
      • Table 3-6 Faithless Electors, 1789–2012 132
      • Table 3-7 Party Winning Presidential Election, by State, 1789–2012 133
      • Table 3-8 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 1968 and 1972 136
      • Table 3-9 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 1976 and 1980 138
      • Table 3-10 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 1984 and 1988 140
      • Table 3-11 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 1992 and 1996 142
      • Table 3-12 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 2000 and 2004 144
      • Table 3-13 Percentage of Popular Votes for President, by State, 2008 and 2012 146
      • Table 3-14 Electoral Votes, by State, 1968 148
      • Table 3-15 Electoral Votes, by State, 1972, 1976, and 1980 150
      • Table 3-16 Electoral Votes, by State, 1984 and 1988 152
      • Table 3-17 Electoral Votes, by State, 1992, 1996, and 2000 154
      • Table 3-18 Electoral Votes, by State, 2004 and 2008 156
      • Table 3-19 Electoral Votes, by State, 2012 158
      • Table 3-20 Representation of the President's Party in the Two-Party House Vote, 1824–2012 160
      • Figure 3-1 State Turnout in Presidential Elections, by Region, 1920–2012 163
      • Table 3-21 State Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by State, 1824–1876 164
      • Table 3-22 State Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by State, 1880–1932 166
      • Table 3-23 State Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by State, 1936–1984 168
      • Table 3-24 State Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by State, 1988–2012 170
      • Table 3-25 Personal Characteristics of Major-Party Candidates, 1980–2012 172
      • Table 3-26 Emotional Responses to Major-Party Presidential Candidates, 1980–2012 173
      • Figure 3-2 Voter Perceptions of Candidates' Handling of Issues, 2012 174
      • Table 3-27 Content of Television News Coverage of General Elections, 1988–2012 175
      • Table 3-28 Positive Television News Coverage of Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates during the General Elections, 1988–2012 177
      • Table 3-29 Election Year Presidential Preferences, 1948–2012 179
      • Table 3-30 Demographic Groups' Support of Presidential Candidates, 1952–2012 181
      • Table 3-31 Presidential Campaign Receipts, 1996–2012 184
      • Table 3-32 Spending Limits in Presidential Elections, 1976–2012 185
    • Chapter 4 Public Appearances
      • Table 4-1 Description of Major Presidential Speeches by President, Coolidge to Obama, I 199
      • Table 4-2 Major Presidential Speeches, by Term, Coolidge to Obama, I 209
      • Table 4-3 Major Presidential Speeches, by Subject Category, Coolidge to Obama, I 211
      • Table 4-4 Presidential News Conferences, by Year, Coolidge to Obama, I 212
      • Table 4-5 White House Press Secretaries, Hoover to Obama, I 214
      • Table 4-6 Foreign Appearances by President, Truman, I to Obama, I 215
      • Table 4-7 Minor Presidential Speeches, by Year, Hoover to Obama, I 217
      • Table 4-8 Public Appearances in Washington, DC, by Year, Hoover to Obama, I 219
      • Table 4-9 U.S. Public Appearances, by Year, Hoover to Obama, I 221
      • Table 4-10 Political Appearances, by Year, Hoover to Obama, I 223
      • Table 4-11 Political Appearances in Election and Nonelection Years, Hoover to Obama, I 225
      • Table 4-12 Level of Public Activities of Presidents, Hoover to Obama, I 226
      • Figure 4-1 Presidents' Domestic Public Appearances, Hoover to Obama, I 230
    • Chapter 5 Public Opinions
      • Table 5-1 Presidential Approval, by Month since Inauguration, Truman to Obama 241
      • Table 5-2 Presidential Approval Average, by Year of Term, Truman to Obama 245
      • Table 5-3 Aggregate Public Approval, F. Roosevelt, II to Obama 246
      • Figure 5-1 Popularity Trends, Truman to Obama 277
      • Table 5-4 Quarterly Presidential Approval, by Party, Region, and Income, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 278
      • Table 5-5 Annual and Term Average of Presidential Approval Ratings, by Party, Region, and Income, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 288
      • Table 5-6 Quarterly Presidential Approval, by Race and Sex, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 292
      • Table 5-7 Annual and Average Presidential Approval, by Race and Sex, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 298
      • Table 5-8 Quarterly Presidential Approval, by Age and Education, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 301
      • Table 5-9 Annual and Term Average Approval, by Age and Education, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 311
      • Table 5-10 Public Approval of Presidents' Handling of the Economy and Foreign Policy, Nixon to Obama, I 315
      • Table 5-11 The Public's Most Important Problem, 1935–2012 327
      • Table 5-12 The Party Best Able to Handle the Most Important Problem, 1945–2012 329
      • Table 5-13 Confidence in Leaders of Major Institutions, 1966–2012 332
    • Chapter 6 Presidential Organization and the Executive Branch
      • Table 6-1 Size of Executive Office of the President, Coolidge to Obama, I 349
      • Figure 6-1 Number of Employees in the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, and White House Office, Coolidge to Obama, I 355
      • Table 6-2 Average Expenditures for Selected Units in the Executive Office of the President, by Term, Coolidge to Obama, I 356
      • Table 6-3 Budget Authority and Outlays for White House Staff, Coolidge to Obama, I 357
      • Table 6-4 Budget Authority and Outlays for Key Executive Office Units, F. Roosevelt, II to Obama, I 361
      • Figure 6-2 Expenditures by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, and White House Office, Coolidge to Obama, I 366
      • Table 6-5 “Funds Appropriated to the President” 367
      • Table 6-6 Units in the Executive Office of the President, 1939–2012 371
      • Table 6-7 Executive Office of the President, 2013 373
      • Table 6-8 Units of the White House Office, Obama, 2013 374
      • Table 6-9 Top Level Staff Not Assigned to Specific White House Office Subunits, 1939–2012 375
      • Table 6-10 Office of Management and Budget Review of Agency Rules, 1981–2012 377
      • Table 6-11 Office of Management and Budget Review Decisions on Matters of Economic Significance, Reagan, I to Obama, I 382
      • Table 6-12 Chiefs of Staff, F. Roosevelt to Obama 384
      • Table 6-13 Size of Executive Departments and Various Independent Agencies for Selected Years 385
      • Table 6-14 Total Executive Nominations Submitted for Senate Confirmation, Truman, I to Obama, I 387
      • Table 6-15 Presidential Appointments Confirmed by Senate, Kennedy to Obama, I 390
      • Table 6-16 Presidential Cabinet Nominations Rejected or Withdrawn 392
    • Chapter 7 Presidents in War and Diplomacy
      • Table 7-1 Declared Wars by the United States, 1787–2012 413
      • Table 7-2 Military Engagements Authorized by Congress, 1787–2012 414
      • Table 7-3 Presidential Military Action without Congressional Authorization, Washington to Obama, I 416
      • Table 7-4 Summary of Instances of American Use of Force without Congressional Authorization, 1788–2012 432
      • Table 7-5 Presidential Notifications under the War Powers Resolution, Ford to Obama, I 433
      • Table 7-6 The Costs of War 434
      • Table 7-7 War-Related Appropriations for Defense, Iraq and Afghanistan, 2002–2012 435
      • Figure 7-1 Public Attitudes toward the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq Wars, 1950–2012 436
      • Table 7-8 Presidential Determinations (Foreign Assistance Funds), Kennedy to Obama, I 437
      • Table 7-9 Foreign Assistance Authorized by Presidential Waivers, Kennedy to Obama, I 439
      • Table 7-10 Presidents' Foreign Assistance Fund Transfers, Kennedy to Obama, I 441
      • Table 7-11 Presidential Use of Drawdown Authority, Kennedy to Obama, I 444
      • Table 7-12 Treaties and Executive Agreements, Washington, I to Truman, I 448
      • Table 7-13 Treaties and Executive Agreements, Truman, II to Obama, I 456
      • Figure 7-2 International Agreements, 1949–2012 460
      • Table 7-14 Senate Action on Treaties, Protocols, and Conventions, Truman, II to Obama, I 461
      • Table 7-15 Treaties Killed by the Senate, 1789–2012 464
      • Table 7-16 Major Arms Control Agreements, Eisenhower to Obama, I 465
    • Chapter 8 Presidential Policymaking
      • Table 8-1 Executive Orders of Presidents, Washington, I to Obama, I 479
      • Table 8-2 Executive Orders, by Policy Type, Truman, II to Obama, I 487
      • Table 8-3 Presidential Signing Statements, Hoover to Obama, I 493
      • Table 8-4 Presidential Tax Proposals and Congressional Enactments, Truman to Obama, I 496
      • Table 8-5 Differences in Appropriations Proposed by President and Passed by Congress, Truman to Obama, I 498
      • Figure 8-1 Budget Deficit or Surplus, Eisenhower to Obama, I 499
      • Table 8-6 Federal Budget Receipts and Outlays, 1924–2012 500
      • Table 8-7 Outlays for Major Spending Categories as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product, 1968-2012 502
      • Figure 8-2 Federal Outlays by Category, 1950–2020, by Decade 504
    • Chapter 9 Congressional Relations
      • Table 9-1 Political Parties of Presidents and Congress, 1789–2012 516
      • Table 9-2 Size of the Office of Legislative Affairs, Reagan, I to Obama, I 520
      • Figure 9-1 The Legislative Clearance Process 521
      • Figure 9-2 The Enrolled Bill Process 521
      • Table 9-3 Number of Presidential Requests of Congress in State of the Union Messages, Truman, I to Obama, I 522
      • Table 9-4 First-Year Requests for Legislation, Truman, II to Obama, I 525
      • Table 9-5 Presidential Position Taken on House Roll Calls, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 526
      • Table 9-6 Presidential Position Taken in the House, by Issue Area, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 528
      • Figure 9-3 Congressional Concurrence with Presidents, Eisenhower to Obama, I 531
      • Table 9-7 House and Senate Concurrence with Presidents, Eisenhower to Obama, I 532
      • Table 9-8 House and Senate Concurrence with Presidents, by Party, Eisenhower, I to Obama, I 535
      • Table 9-9 Presidential Vetoes, Washington to Obama, I 537
      • Table 9-10 Annual Number of Presidential Vetoes, by Issue Area, Truman, I to Obama, I 539
      • Table 9-11 Congressional Challenges to Presidential Vetoes, Truman, I to Obama, I 543
      • Figure 9-4 Presidential Policy Behavior, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 547
      • Figure 9-5 Presidential Behavior on Foreign Policy, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 548
      • Figure 9-6 Presidential Behavior on Defense Policy, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 549
      • Figure 9-7 Presidential Behavior on Domestic Policy, Eisenhower, II to Obama, I 550
    • Chapter 10 The Presidency and the Judiciary
      • Table 10-1 Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, Washington to Obama, I 559
      • Table 10-2 Supreme Court Nominees with Senate Problems, Washington to Obama, I 565
      • Table 10-3 Presidential Nominations to the Lower Courts, Kennedy to Obama, I 567
      • Table 10-4 Presidential Appointments to the U.S. District Courts, by Political Party, Cleveland to Obama, I 569
      • Table 10-5 Presidential Appointments to the U.S. Courts of Appeal, by Political Party, Cleveland to Obama, I 570
      • Table 10-6 Characteristics of District Court Appointees, L. Johnson to Obama, I 571
      • Table 10-7 Characteristics of Circuit Court Appointees, L. Johnson to Obama, I 573
      • Table 10-8 Women and Minorities Appointed to Judgeships, L. Johnson to Obama, I 575
      • Figure 10-1 Total Number of Judicial Appointments, F. Roosevelt to Obama, I 576
      • Table 10-9 Success Rate of the United States as a Party to a Case before the Supreme Court, Truman, I to Obama, I 577
      • Table 10-10 Success Rate of the Solicitor General as an Amicus Curiae in Cases before the Supreme Court, Eisenhower to Obama, I 580
      • Table 10-11 Supreme Court Rulings against Presidents, Washington to Obama, I 581

    Preface

    Vital Statistics on the Presidency updates and expands material on the executive office from the time of George Washington through Barack Obama's first term. It has been twenty-five years since the first edition of this book was written; Ronald Reagan was then stepping down after two terms as president. This current edition is being written in the midst of Barack Obama's second term. During the past quarter-century, the world and the challenges the president faces have changed dramatically: The Cold War ended, the Soviet Union collapsed. Summit meetings and nuclear arms control agreements have been replaced by American unilateralism, China's emergence as an economic superpower, and seemingly random terrorist attacks that are carefully planned, purposeful, and strategic. Deficit has been replaced by surplus, only to be replaced by deficit. We have moved from an era of limited military encounters to one of a protracted war with consequences well beyond the theater of conflict. Yet amidst these historic changes, there are constants: a president's popularity grows when the economy improves, rises sharply when a president puts the nation at war, and falls dramatically if the war effort drags on or the economy turns soft. Over the same period, the size of the Executive Office of the President increased modestly, from 1,645 employees in 1988 to 1,821 employees in 2012. In 1988, President Reagan issued forty-five executive orders, covering such topics as military bases, agricultural subsidies, and abortion. In 2012, President Obama issued thirty-nine executive orders addressing these same topics. President Obama, like Reagan, made hundreds of ceremonial appearances in Washington, DC, and across the country throughout his two terms in office. Both presidents made major addresses to the nation that boosted their approval ratings and rallied the country to their policies. These patterns of historic change and constancy in the institution of the presidency are examined throughout Vital Statistics on the Presidency.

    The research for this book could not have been completed without the efforts of Randall M. Smith, who graciously provided the data on treaties and executive agreements, which is the single most exhaustive and accurate data set now available on international agreements. My special thanks go to Richard Niemi and Harold Stanley for kindly sharing data that they have collected (2013) and to John Woolley and Gerhard Peters for their indispensable website, The American Presidency Project, at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu. I am also grateful to the fine professional team at CQ Press and SAGE Publications for facilitating a smooth and uncomplicated revision process. My thanks to John Martino and Andrew Boney for their ideas to improve the book and their careful attention to detail, which is always essential for this project. Deanna Noga, as copy editor, and David Felts, as production editor, were both very instrumental in improving the final manuscript.

    Finally, I would like to thank my husband, Jerry Rusk, and my son, Matthew Ragsdale Rusk, my two best friends, for their unflagging encouragement and support and for making my life whole.

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