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When the President Speaks...: An Analysis of Presidential Influence Over Public Opinion Concerning the War on Drugs

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 36 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 456-469
Willard M. Oliver; Joshua Hill; Nancy E. Marion
Date Published
December 2011
14 pages
This study examined the theory of presidential influence over public opinion on the public's concern regarding drug use.
The theory of presidential influence over public opinion is used to predict the impact of presidential rhetoric on the public's concern regarding drug use as "the most important problem (MIP) facing the Nation." It is hypothesized that the more attention presidents give to the policy area of drugs in their state of the union (SOTU) addresses, the more concerned the public becomes with drug use. Using a time-series regression analysis of data collected from a content analysis of presidents'SOTU speeches regressed on the Gallup Poll's MIP series from 1946 to 2010, the findings suggest that presidential mentions of drugs in the SOTU addresses influence public concern for illicit drugs in America. (Published Abstract)