The idealized presidential candidate: A vision over time

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Image as a transaction between what candidates say and do and the way voters compare that behavior with their personal vision of what candidates should be or do stimulates at least three critical questions important to political communication. First, although the ability or power of the media to affect the success or failure of candidates and campaigns is believed by many citizens and documented by research, do views of individual members of the media regarding ideal qualities presidential candidates should possess differ significantly from those of voters? Second, do characteristics or attributes of the "ideal" presidential candidate, as affixed by the media and the electorate, vary from election to election? Finally, do the evaluative dimensions of "idealness" differ in relationship to gender, age, or party affiliation? Answers are determined from results of a survey of journalists covering and citizens attending political rallies in New Hampshire during the 1988 to 2004 presidential primaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-156
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Ideal candidate
  • New Hampshire
  • Primary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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