Presidential job approval(presidential approval rating), a survey indicator, falls into the category of performance evaluation for incumbent presidents. This indicator is considered as one of the signature features for democratic politics in modern times. In fact, it has been widely used during both elections and ordinary times as an indicator of actual presidential popularity in America. It is well recognized that the presidential candidate who can make the best use of the determinants of presidential approval ratings during the elections will have the edge to grasp the source of political power. The studies in this field, founded by Professor John Muller in the 1970s, have rapidly developed ever since. The main themes of this research are continuously evolving with the time.
The timeline for these studies originated on January 1 1948 and ended in October 2012, making a total study length of 64 years. If we put the said timeline into context, the studies covered 12 presidents in all, starting with President Truman and ending with President Obama. The presidential approval ratings of each of the 12 presidents were concatenated into a single time series, and treated as the dependent variable of panel data regression. As far as the independent variables are concerned, all the potential factors are divided into four different categories, including the factors dealing with the features of time series, a wide range of economic variables, consumer confidence indexes, and various dummy variables. The way we create dummy variables is to select critical events that attracted the US public''s attention in the 12 presidents, and separate them into three categories. These categories are political affairs, military events, and social affairs based on nature of event. By doing this, the study successfully broadens the perspectives by treating non-quantitative factors as independent variables of panel data regression. Moreover, we create a chronological database for important events.
In this dissertation, we replace the actual date with the month in office of each of the 12 presidents, and restructure one-dimensional time series into a three-dimensional format. Furthermore, we investigate the theories of Social Psychology to consider the mind workings of each individual who takes the survey. Meanwhile, we consider issues from Gallup''s perspective, and seek confirmation between theory and actual procedures.
This dissertation is divided into six chapters. Chapter one introduces the study background, research motivation, research questions, and limitations. Chapter two provides the results of a comprehensive literature review. Chapter three includes the main theories in the fields of social psychology and survey method. Chapter four consists of a wide range of statistics theories that were applied in this study. Chapter five is composed of the results of the statistics empirical results, and the last chapter includes conclusions made by comparing the achievements of this study to other research results and potential topics for future work.