Although there is great skepticism from both the media and the American public about how serious presidential candidates are about the positions they take on major issues, research shows that if elected, presidents make a spirited effort to deliver on the vast majority of their campaign promises. One study, for example, shows that, on average, presidents from Woodrow Wilson through Jimmy Carter kept their word on about 75 percent of their campaign promises. Politifact.com reviewed about 500 promises President Obama made during his two campaigns and found that he has delivered or tried to deliver on nearly 80 percent of them.
On November 18, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings hosted an event to discuss a study written by several prominent scholars that examines eight issues that should play a prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign. At the event, Vin Weber, a former Congressman from Minnesota who has advised numerous presidential campaigns, and William Galston, a prominent scholar of politics and government at Brookings who also has a long history of advising campaigns, provided comments on the importance of issues in presidential elections. Papers on three of the issues addressed in the study – poverty and economic mobility, the federal deficit, and federal health care policy – were presented and discussed.