The Bully Pulpit, Social Media, and Public Opinion: A Big Data Approach

Gabriel Michael, Colin P Agur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this paper, we seek to understand the contemporary power of the presidential “bully pulpit”—the persuasive power of the nation’s highest elected office—in a context of shifting patterns of mediation. We do so by examining a major social media communication platform (Twitter) for evidence of changes in public opinion before and after President Obama’s high-profile statements on net neutrality in November 2014. This study includes novel and comprehensive data on the effects of a presidential announcement on public opinion. With social media playing a growing role in both electoral and policy discourse, this paper offers a methodological foundation for future studies in the changing nature of the presidential bully pulpit and the role of social media as a tool of mediation in political communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-277
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Oscar M Ruebhausen Fund under Internal Yale Law School grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis.


  • President
  • big data
  • bully pulpit
  • machine learning
  • public opinion
  • social media
  • twitter


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