Charismatic Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign: Commonalities and Differences

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Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



For all of the attention given to charisma in media accounts of presidential campaigns, there is surprisingly little systematic research on the use and effect of charismatic rhetoric, even though researchers outside of political science have attempted to deconstruct and analyze the different components of rhetorical speech. We draw from this scholarship to explore the use of different forms of charismatic rhetoric throughout the entire 2008 presidential campaign season. We use DICTION 5.0, a content analysis program designed specifically for political discourse, to explore the use of rhetoric in the campaign. We begin by mapping the prevalence of different types of rhetoric and then move on to examine the impact of partisanship and electoral context (primary vs. general election) on rhetorical choices.

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© 203 John Wiley & Sons