The expectations gap thesis: Public attitudes toward an incumbent president

Richard W. Waterman, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Carol L. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a recent article, Kimball and Patterson (1997, 722) found that citizens appear to make a comparison between what they expect of their representatives in Congress and what they perceive congressional behavior to actually be like - what they call the "expectations-perceptions differential" and what presidential scholars call the "expectations gap." In this article, we replicate and expand Kimball and Patterson's study and relate it to the presidency. Through an analysis of survey data collected at the beginning and the end of the 1996 presidential election campaign, and by using four separate measures of the expectations gap, we demonstrate that public expectations exert a significant impact on evaluations of an incumbent president. They also have a direct impact on vote preference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-966
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume61
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The expectations gap thesis: Public attitudes toward an incumbent president'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this