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]

Benjamin S. Noble. 2021. “Energy versus Safety: Unilateral Action, Voter Welfare, and Executive Accountability.” Political Science Research and Methods. [publisher site] [ungated] [appendix] [blog post summary] [twitter summary]

APSA 2022 Working Paper

Benjamin S. Noble. “The Hour to Persuade: The Strategic Use of Persuasion and Mobilization in Presidential Rhetoric.”

Presidential power is, famously, the power to persuade, and modern presidents attempt to exercise this power through popular speechmaking. However, I argue that political conditions do not always favor persuasion as a rhetorical strategy. Congressional polarization and divided government limit the president’s power to persuade, whereas high approval renders persuasion unnecessary. In response, strategic presidents adopt a different rhetorical strategy: mobilizing existing supporters. To demonstrate support for this theory, I collect 18,000 presidential speeches and use word embeddings to develop a novel measure of the use of persuasive and mobilizing rhetoric in each spoken paragraph between 1981-2022. I find that presidents have long used a mix of persuasive and mobilizing appeals that predictably vary with political and institutional conditions. This theory contributes to our understanding of the rhetorical presidency, going public, and political persuasion more broadly while my measure can be applied to the study of other elite actors and institutional contexts.

Other Working Papers

Benjamin S. Noble. “The Power to Polarize: The President as a Cue in Congressional Rhetoric.” [working paper]

Benjamin S. Noble and Taylor N. Carlson. “CueAnon: The (not so) Strategic Endorsement of QAnon.” [working paper]

Other Selected Work

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