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Presidential Agenda Setting in Crime Control

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: (1991) Pages: 159-184
N Marion
Date Published
26 pages
This analysis investigates presidential agenda setting in crime control during the period between 1963 and 1990 in order to trace patterns over time and to examine individual presidential behavior.
The three general areas under investigation included individual presidents, political party affiliation, and year of term in office. The five specific hypotheses upon which the study was based held that the number of crime initiatives would increase over time, Republican and Democratic presidents would suggest different approaches to crime control, Democratic presidents would describe more crime-related initiatives than would Republican presidents, there would be more speeches given in the first year in office regarding crime control than in subsequent years, and there would be more crime control-related speeches during election years than in off-election years. Speeches mentioning key words such as crime, criminal justice, and law enforcement were coded as to type of speech, topic, whether or not it was made as part of an election rally, and whether it was specifically about crime or simply mentioned crime in the context of other issues. None of the hypotheses were fully supported by the analysis. The author predicts that crime will remain on the systematic agenda of future presidents and that the Federal Government will become more involved in crime control whenever possible. 4 tables, 6 figures, and 21 references


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