The Ideal Candidate Revisited: A Study of the Desired Attributes of the Public and the Media Across Three Presidential Campaigns

Judith S. Trent, Jimmie D. Trent, Paul A. Mongeau, Cady Short-Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The view of image as a transaction between all that a candidate says and does and the way in which voters compare that behavior to their personal vision of what a candidate should be inspires at least three questions important to campaign communication. First, although the ability or power of the media to affect the success or failure of political campaigns and candidates is popularly believed and has been documented by researchers, do the views of individual members of the media regarding the ideal qualities required of president candidates differ significantly from those of voters? Second, do the characteristics or criteria of the “ideal candidate” ascribed by the media and/or the electorate vary from election to election? And finally, do the evaluative dimensions of “idealness” differ by party affiliation, age, or gender? The answers to these questions were determined from the results of a survey of 388 professional journalists covering and 734 citizens attending rallies in New Hampshire during the presidential primaries of 1988, 1992, and 1996.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1019
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Volume40
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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