Image, media bias, and voter characteristics: The ideal candidate from 1988-2000

J. S. Trent, C. Short-Thompson, P. A. Mongeau, A. K. Nusz, J. D. Trent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The view of image as a transaction between what candidates say and do and the way in which voters compare that behavior to their beliefs of what candidates should be or do stimulates three critical questions important to political communication. First, although the power of the media to affect the outcome of political campaigns and candidates is believed by citizens and has been documented by researchers, do the views of individual members of the media regarding the ideal qualities required of presidential candidates differ significantly from those of the voters? Second, do the criteria of the "ideal presidential candidate" vary across elections? And finally, do the evaluative dimensions of idealness differ by party affiliation, age, or gender? The answers to these and related questions were determined from a survey of 562 journalists covering, and 1,246 citizens attending, political rallies in New Hampshire during the presidential primaries of 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2101-2124
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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