Presidents Make a Difference

By: - August 25, 2008 12:00 am

 When asked historian Brian Balogh of the University of Virginia why a presidential election matters to the states, he did not hesitate to retrieve an example. 

“Abraham Lincoln,” he replied. “His election sealed the fate of the union. If you ever wanted to pick out one example of when an election mattered to states it was Lincoln.”

 Not every election is that momentous, but the point is that a president makes a big difference to states in setting policy as well as tone.  


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Stephen Fehr

Stephen Fehr is a senior officer with Pew’s government performance portfolio. He is a lead writer on many of the products generated by the portfolio, specializing in state and local fiscal health.