Charismatic Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign: Commonalities and Differences Across the Candidates

Posted: 22 Feb 2011

See all articles by Jean Schroedel

Jean Schroedel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Michelle Bligh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jennifer L. Merolla

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University

Randall Gonzalez

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

The field of candidates in the 2008 presidential campaign was easily the most diverse in U.S. history, encompassing racial and gender diversity on the Democratic side and a minority religion on the Republican side. In this paper, we explore the extent to which these factors and other factors affected the candidates'use of charismatic rhetoric. The extant literature in political science is scarce, focuing either on how voters use socio-demographic cues as information shortcuts or on the ways that candidates strategically emphasize certain issues, while down-playing others. In this paper, we compare the use of charismatic language by major party candidates in the 2008 election. We address the key questions. First, does the campaign rhetoric vary across the candidates? Second, does the rhetoric vary for individual candidates? Third and most importantly, what explains these differences? We utilize diction 5.0, a content analysis program, specifically designed for political discourse to identify commonalities and differences in more than 400 speeches and interviews given by the Democratic and Republican candidates.

Suggested Citation

Schroedel, Jean and Bligh, Michelle and Merolla, Jennifer L. and Gonzalez, Randall, Charismatic Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign: Commonalities and Differences Across the Candidates. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1767284

Jean Schroedel (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Michelle Bligh

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Jennifer L. Merolla

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University ( email )

150 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Randall Gonzalez

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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