chapter  5
12 Pages

The Presidency and Public Opinion

ByDIANE J. HEITH

In an interview with Jim Lehrer on PBS’s The News Hour on February 27, 2009, President Barack Obama stated that his decisions were not based on public opinion: “You know, I don’t-I don’t make these decisions based on polls or popularity. I make the decisions based on what I think is best. This is consistent with what I said during the campaign. The fact-if anything, I think people should be interested in the fact that there’s been a movement in the direction of what I thought was going to be the right plan in the first place.” In his response, Obama acknowledged the inherent dilemma facing the modern presidency: How do you lead in a representative democracy where every miniscule decision receives a critique?