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The Image and the Vote: The Effect of Candidate Presentation on Voter Preference



It is generally assumed that a political candidate's appearance and style have an impact on voters and the choices they make on election day. Little research, however, has been done to investigate this claim. Here, the authors examine the role that these nonverbal aspects of candidate presentation play in the process of political communication. In the course of two related studies, the impact of candidate photographs appearing on campaign flyers is assessed. The results suggest that these photographs influence voters' perceptions of a candidate and this significantly affects their vote.
The Image and the Vote: The Effect of Candidate Presentation on Voter Preference
Shawn W. Rosenberg; Lisa Bohan; Patrick McCafferty; Kevin Harris
American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 30, No. 1. (Feb., 1986), pp. 108-127.
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Wed Nov 21 16:11:47 2007
... Pictures contained in news articles can influence how readers perceive a reported topic [Ros+86]. In particular, readers who wish to get an overview of current events are likely to browse many articles and thus view only each article's headline and image. ...
... In particular, readers who wish to get an overview of current events are likely to browse many articles and thus view only each article's headline and image. The effects of picture selection even go so far as to influence readers' voting preferences in elections [Ros+86]. Reporters or news agencies sometimes (purposefully) show pictures out of context [Est14], e.g., a popular picture in 2015 showed an aggressive refugee with an alleged ISIS flag fighting against police officers. ...
... The most co-cited publications are Grabe (2009), Schill (2012, and Nagel, Maurer, and Reinemann (2012) (Table 1). These works and the work of authors like Shawn Rosenberg (1986Rosenberg ( , 1987Rosenberg ( , 1991, Alexander Todorov and others (2005), or Rein Vliegenthart (2012) suggest this cluster conglomerates research on visualizations and framing for persuasion in political events, campaigns, and electoral purposes. Quantitatively, the cluster VAP is the closest to the cluster VAS. 3 The two distinct clusters suggest differences in approaches to research visualizations between those intended for political and electoral purposes and framing as a sense-making process in general. ...
... The cluster's central tenet is that emotions mediate visual communication, and emotional responses influence cognitive political behavior (Grabe and Bucy 2009;Valentino et al. 2011). Similarly, political communication and political psychology research indicate that visualizations also work for emotional communication to persuade voters, build the candidate's impression, or picture abstract scenarios like climate change impacts (Caprara et al. 2006;Nagel, Maurer, and Reinemann 2012;Nicholson-Cole 2005;Rosenberg, Kahn, and Tran 1991;Rosenberg et al. 1986;Schill 2012;Todorov et al. 2005;Vliegenthart 2012). In our CRISPR-Cas case, this cluster suggests the strategic use of corn and GMO to visualize CRISPR-Cas technology as a persuasive communication strategy to stock rejection to CRISPR-Cas amongst the public based on fears or negative emotions associated with GMOs, drawing on the 20-year-long controversy about that technology. ...
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Visualizations are important for policy debates. In a single image, vi- suals convey information, values, and emotions. Think of the shocking image of Alan Kurdi’s drowning and the abrupt shift in immigration policy debates in Europe. Visualizations influence policy and politics, but how? This article presents a detailed and analytic overview of the state-of-the-art research on visualizations from the policy and political sciences and suggests a research agenda. We identified five explanatory roles for how visualizations influence policy and policy debates as: 1) sense-making devices for interpreting complex infor- mation; 2) emotional triggers to strategically manipulate the viewers’ sentiments for political gains; 3) objects of political meaning making; 4) icons that convey social and cultural norms; and 5) portrayals of the underlying values that matter when representing situations in so- ciety. We applied our findings to a visualization of the controversial gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas applied to food. We claim that these five roles need to be combined to better understand how visual- izations are influential over time and for different policy actors. We argue for studying visualizations as boundary objects whose meaning is negotiated between (groups of) policy actors and that can change over time.
... A fictitious medical reporter was presented as the author to (a) avoid any contaminating effects associated with a known source and (b) to make it seem plausible that the author wrote a health-related op-ed article and a post on his Facebook page (see Appendix A2). A pilot test was performed to choose the profile image that represents an "average" person in terms of competence, morality, and attractiveness (Rosenberg et al., 1986). Twenty-two participants rated 10 profile images on nine semantic differential items, such as unintelligent (1)intelligent (7), untrustworthy-trustworthy, and unlikablelikable. ...
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Two experiments examined if persuasive effectiveness of health messages varies as a function of the communication channel (Facebook vs. news website), and if so, why. Specifically, we examined perceived ulterior motives of the communicator as an explanation for why public health campaigns may be less effective when conveyed via mass-directed (vs. interpersonal) channels, and further investigated if message recipients' health interest moderates such channel effects, if any. In Study 1 (N = 103), reading a medical news reporter's Facebook post on dental health (vs. a news article consisting of the identical content) lowered the participants' suspicion of ulterior motives of the source, which then promoted message-consistent attitudes and behavioral intention. Such effects, however, emerged only for those more interested in health. Using a different topic (a low-carb, high-fat diet), Study 2 (N = 338) replicated Study 1 findings, confirming the conditional persuasive advantages of social media over mass media as a health campaign channel.
This contribution aims at investigating the changes in visual communication by Italian political leaders on Instagram during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using a dataset including all the posts published by the main Italian political leaders from September 20th, 2019 to September 20th, 2020 (n = 6,865) and using face and emotional recognition algorithms, we analyze the differences in the visual content proposed by populist and mainstream political actors. Results indicate that populist right leaders (Salvini and Meloni) are more likely to employ a visual communication directly representing the leader and portraying a positive framework (the image of the smiling leader) with respect to mainstream leaders. Furthermore, right-wing populists prove to be more able than their mainstream counterpart to adjust their communication in relation to the pandemic, showing a rapid decrease of images that show them smiling in the toughest phases of the first wave. The contribution also represents an exercise aimed at showing how machine learning algorithms – and specifically computer vision tools – represent a useful device for studying online communication.
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Recent research finds that whether or not ventures publish video pitches during crowdfunding campaigns affects their funding success. Little is known, however, about how and why video pitches help startups achieve higher valuations. To close this gap, we analyze metrics and the content of video pitches published along blockchain-based crowdfunding campaigns (a.k.a. token offerings, initial coin offerings, or ICOs). We confirm that the publication of video pitches increases the funding amount, and present novel evidence on the mechanisms behind this finding. First, the longer the video, the larger its valuation effect. Second, it is the information content that matters in videos, while non-informational content (e.g., music) has no effect. Third, information conveyed in videos vis-à-vis other channels (e.g., white papers) act as informational substitutes. Fourth, investors react positively to buzz words in videos, and this effect is even more pronounced when there are many competing projects. Overall, our results suggest that videos are an important source of information for ICO investors, and investors’ limited attention makes videos (and their content, especially buzzwords) more important in “hot” markets.
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The announcement of one’s candidacy for the presidency sets the stage for everything that will follow in the campaign. This study analyzes candidate announcements from the 2020 Democratic Party nomination for president and how each of the top six candidates branded themselves. The campaign announcement is the first opportunity to shape the brand of the candidate in a crowded field of candidates. Comparisons will be made between candidates with national name recognition and those who have yet to make a name for themselves on a national stage. For more well-known candidates, this address is meant to energize supporters and build momentum toward the nomination. Well-known candidates may be able to more clearly form a branding around policy positions. For the lesser-known candidates, it is a chance to introduce themselves to the nation and begin to build a following. These speakers may present a more personal narrative to brand themselves as an individual before presenting policy. A comparison will also be made between male and female candidates, including an analysis of gendered language in announcing their candidacy.
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z Günümüzde geniş seçmen kitlelerine seslenen siyasal kampanyaların yapısında; aday imajlarının öneminin artmasıyla birlikte, önemli değişim ve dönüşüm yaşanmaktadır. Bu haliyle aday imajı, hem genel hem de yerel seçimlerde seçmenlerin tercihleri üzerinde belirleyici bir etken olabilmektedir. İşte bu araştırma 2019 Yerel Seçimlerinde Konya'daki seçmenin zihinlerinde bir adaya ilişkin imaj oluştururken hangi faktörlerden etkilendiklerini tespit etmek için yürütülmüştür. Saha araştırması yönteminin kullanıldığı çalışmada veriler, 450 katılımcıdan yüz yüze anket tekniğiyle toplanmıştır. Araştırma sonucunda aday imajı oluşumunda etkili yedi faktör tespit edilmiştir. Bunlar; Medya, İletişim, Kişisel Özellikler, Tecrübe, Dış Görünüş, Parti ve Sosyo-Kültürel Özellikler'dir. Bu faktörler içerisinde aritmetik ortalama değeri itibariyle; katılımcıların en çok puan verdikleri faktör Kişisel Özellikler'dir. Katılımcılar, bir yerel seçimde tercihte bulunurken; siyasi adayın çalışkan, samimi, dürüst ve güvenilir olmasını daha çok önemsemektedir. Bunun yanında yerel adayın sosyal konulara duyarlı olması, halkla etkin iletişim kurması, herkese karşı tarafsız yaklaşması ve iyi bir ekibinin olması aday imajı değerlendirmesinde önem atfedilen özellikler arasında yer almaktadır. Aday imajı indeksi üzerinde parti bağlılığı, adayın kendisi, lider, yakın çevre ve arkadaş grubu, ideoloji, medya yayınları, kamuoyu araştırma sonuçları, din ve inanç sistemi, siyasal kampanya faaliyetleri, geçmiş seçimlerde oy verilen parti ya da aday ile ekonomik kazanımlar pozitif; mensup olunan ya da ilgi duyulan cemaat ise negatif yönde anlamlı belirleyicidir. Abstract Today, in the structure of political campaigns addressing large voters; along with the increasing importance of candidate images, significant changes and transformations are experienced. As such, the image of the candidate can be a determining factor on the voters' preferences in both general and local elections. This research was carried out in the 2019 Local Elections to determine what factors were affected by the image of an island in the minds of the voters in Konya. In the study using the field research method, data were collected from 450 participants using face-to-face survey technique. As a result of the research, seven factors affecting the image of the candidate were determined. These; Media, Communication, Personal Features, Experience, Appearance, Party and Socio-Cultural Features. Among these factors, in terms of the arithmetic mean value; Personal Features are the factors that the participants score most. While the participants made a choice in a local election; cares more about the political candidate being hardworking, sincere, honest and reliable. In addition, the local candidate's sensitivity to social issues, effective communication with the public, neutral approach towards everyone and having a good team are among the features attributed to the assessment of the candidate image. Again, on the image index, party loyalty, candidate himself, leader, close circle and friends group, ideology, media broadcasts, public research results, religion and belief system, political campaign activities, economic gains with the party or candidate voted in the past elections are positive; The congregation that is affiliated or interested in is negatively significant.
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