American Presidential Candidate Spouses - The Public’s Perspective

by Laurel Elder
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Laurel Elder American Presidential Candidate Spouses - The Public’s Perspective
Laurel Elder - American Presidential Candidate Spouses - The Public’s Perspective

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The book offers a comprehensive analysis of public opinion toward presidential candidate spouses over the course of three decades, drawing on multiple theoretical frameworks including the concept of “new traditionalism” and a plethora of empirical data to explore why some spouses engender greater support than others—and what these reactions reveal about the American public and the gendered nature of the American presidency. Recognizing that presidential candidate spouses are important but understudied political actors, this book provides extensive analysis of public evaluations of Bill Clinton and Melania Trump during the 2016 presidential election as well as the presidential candidate spouses in the 1992 and 2012 elections and places public reaction to these individuals in historical context. The book considers important trends in U.S. elections including party polarization from the distinctive vantage points of candidate spouses and explores the symbolic importance of historic firsts including the first African American candidate spouse and the first male candidate spouse. No other work provides a systematic exploration of public opinion towards candidate spouses as distinct political entities across the modern political era.   


Laurel Elder
Brian Frederick
Barbara Burrell

Further information

Illustrations Note:
16 SW-Abb., 16 Farbtabellen

Offers the most comprehensive study published to date looking at public attitudes toward American presidential candidate spouses

Examines aggregate and individual survey data to document trends on how presidential candidate spouses are viewed by the public over the past three decades

Demonstrates that attitudes toward presidential candidate spouses can be understood in systematic terms rather than random fluctuations

Offers the first theoretically based exploration of the public’s evaluations of the 2016 candidate spouses, Melania Trump and Bill Clinton

Media Type:
Springer International Publishing
Biography Artist:

Laurel Elder is Professor of Political Science at Hartwick College, USA. She is the co-author, with Steve Greene, of The Politics of Parenthood: Causes and Consequences of the Politicization and Polarization of the American Family (2012).

Brian Frederick is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at Bridgewater State University, USA. He is the author of Congressional Representation & Constituents: The Case for Increasing the U.S. House of Representatives (2009).

Barbara Burrell is Professor Emerita of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, USA. She is the author of Public Opinion, the First Ladyship and Hillary Rodham Clinton (2001).

"This is an interesting, succinct and enjoyable read, relevant to scholars of the presidency as well as those with an interest in political and gender history more broadly." (Sarah Thomson, Presidential History Network, January, 2020)
Number of Pages:

Master Data

Product Type:
Paperback book
Release date:
12 April 2018
Package Dimensions:
0.21 x 0.148 x 0.01 m; 0.227 kg
Manufacturer Part Number:
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