A micro level analysis of communication strategies utilized in the television advertisements of male and female candidates
AuthorWalkosz, Barbara Jean, 1947-
KeywordsBusiness Administration, Marketing.
Political Science, General.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAmerican women continue to be severely underrepresented in the number of elected political positions held. One of the obstacles that women face when seeking public office are gender stereotypes which reinforce beliefs that women may be less viable candidates than men. Gender stereotypes influence a range of evaluations about candidates including judgments about their credibility, competency, and communication strategies. This study analyzes communication campaign strategies as one area in which gender stereotyping may influence voters. Television political advertisements are the context for this analysis because of the increased relevance of advertising in imparting candidate image and issue information to the voters. Language Expectancy Theory and literature from the nonverbal communication field provided the theoretical rationale for this study. A micro-level analysis of the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies in political advertising was conducted to determine if these strategies adhered to or countered gender stereotypes. A total of 124 political advertisements of male and female candidates were content analyzed. Results of the study indicate that differences existed in how male and female candidates presented their image to the electorate. Specifically, for the verbal strategies examined, women candidates used less intense language, less humor, less direct attacks, and more prosocial strategies than their male counterparts. However, no differences were found between how men and women made references to autonomy nor were differences identified in their use of opinionated language. For the nonverbal communication strategies, women were coded as having more pleasant voices, and as using more immediate and dominant kinesic cues. No differences were identified in regard to trait characteristics emphasized nor issues mentioned in the ads. The discussion focuses on how these findings can assist scholars in understanding the communication strategies male and female candidates utilized, and if these strategies supported or violated communication stereotypes. The findings of the study can facilitate future research related to understanding how female candidates can increase the persuasive efficacy of their political advertisements.
Degree ProgramGraduate College