Benjamin S. Noble. 2023. “Presidential Cues and the Nationalization of Congressional Rhetoric, 1973-2016.” American Journal of Political Science. [publisher site] [ungated] [data/code] [twitter summary] [blog summary]

Benjamin S. Noble. 2023. “Energy versus Safety: Unilateral Action, Voter Welfare, and Executive Accountability.” Political Science Research and Methods. [publisher site] [ungated] [appendix] [blog post summary] [twitter summary]

Benjamin S. Noble, Andrew Reeves, and Steven W. Webster. 2022. “Crime and Presidential Accountability: A Case of Racially Conditioned Issue Ownership.” Public Opinion Quarterly. [publisher site — ungated] [replication files] [twitter summary]

Working Papers

Benjamin S. Noble and Taylor N. Carlson. “CueAnon: What QAnon Endorsement Signals about Congressional Candidates and What it Costs Them.”

Abstract Most research investigates why the public embraces conspiracy theories, but few studies empirically examine how Americans evaluate the politicians who do. We argued that politicians endorsing QAnon would garner negative mainstream media attention, but this coverage could increase their name recognition and signal positive attributes to voters with low trust in media who would feel warmer toward those candidates. Although we confirm that endorsing candidates receive more negative media coverage, our nationally-representative vignette experiment reveals that QAnon endorsement decreases favorability toward candidates, even among seemingly-sympathetic sub-populations. A follow-up conjoint experiment, varying whether candidates support QAnon, replicates these findings. This paper is one of the first to highlight the potential costs of conspiracy theory endorsement and complicates popular narratives about QAnon.

Benjamin S. Noble. “War and Words: How Presidents Go Public in War and Peace.”

Abstract How does war affect presidential rhetoric and leadership? Theories of going public, which emphasize the limits of presidential persuasion, primarily apply to peacetime politics. Yet presidential power expands in war, which I argue, powerfully shapes how presidents go public. Anticipating accommodation from elites and the public, presidents eschew persuasion, exploiting the moral, emotional, and mobilizing rhetoric of war to push their domestic priorities---even after controlling for changes in the agenda. I collect all presidential statements delivered since 1933, code their topics, and use word embedding methods to measure the amount of moral-emotional (relative to analytical) language in over 478,000 spoken paragraphs. I support my hypotheses leveraging the post-September 11th wars as a semi-natural experiment and using correlational evidence from major wars since 1933. This research contributes to our understanding of the two-presidencies thesis and going public. It raises normative concerns about how presidents exacerbate informational asymmetries in war.

Benjamin S. Noble and Ian R. Turner. “Presidential Leadership and Strategic Legislative Polarization.”

Abstract Presidents go public to raise issue salience, but when does this choice increase their odds of policy success versus polarize lawmakers? To consider this tradeoff, we develop a two-period model of policymaking where two pivotal legislators must agree to change policy. Their choice today becomes tomorrow's status quo. Before the vote, a president can appeal in favor of an outcome, bringing pressure from the parties' bases and tying her electoral prospects to legislative success. We find going public always expands the gridlock region, but this can help the president. When the out-party base weakly supports the president's position, both legislators move toward the president, but the co-partisan pivot moves farther, increasing polarization and success. We also introduce the logic of "defensive appeals:" going public on an aligned status quo can enforce constraint among co-partisans even while alienating the out-party. Our framework illustrates how legislative and public polarization constrain presidential appeals.

Other Publications

Zoe Ang, Benjamin S. Noble, and Andrew Reeves. 2021. “Public Opinion and Public Support in Crisis Management.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. [publisher site]