Home > B1, Learning > How do Presidential Candidates Get Votes Today?

How do Presidential Candidates Get Votes Today?

The exponential growth of social media has introduced television, radio announcements, and the Internet as major influences on Presidential Elections. An individual candidate’s success is greatly affected by his own advertisements, as well as publicity produced and released by other candidates. The distribution of votes relies immensely on the strength and effects of candidates’ campaign commercials. Through viewing candidates’ commercials from previous elections, along with the boundless current campaign ads advertising for this year’s election, I have grasped an understanding of the various techniques used to influence voters. Campaign commercials are classified by their unique rhetorical strategy; the effects campaign commercials have on their audience is dependent on emotional appeal, persuasive ability, integration of factual claims, and techniques pertaining to cinematic style.

Emotional appeal is essential in stimulating a reaction within the audience. Presidential candidates utilize this rhetorical device as motivation for voters to support them. President Obama sparks emotion through his campaign commercial concerning the raid on Osama Bin Laden. By claiming Candidate Romney’s judgment would have prevented the attack defeating the man who had a role in “killing 3,000 Americans,” Obama uses the Bin Laden example to demonstrate the possible detrimental consequences that would occur should he not be re-elected. By threatening potential damage to their personal lives and using harsh diction to provoke emotions, Obama encourages citizens to vote for him. Manipulating the emotions of voters is key in sustaining a successful candidacy.

A candidate’s accomplishments rely majorly on his persuasive abilities. When a candidate directly promises changes voters want to see, they are inclined to vote for him in hopes of attaining the desired results. Mitt Romney demonstrates a persuasive technique in his advertisement “Strong New Leadership.” He proclaims change within America: “This is not a time for more talk and dithering in Washington; it’s a time for action.” Romney confidently declares that he intends to execute his ideas, assuring success and gaining voters’ trust. The ability to persuade is a quality vital to every successful Presidential candidate’s campaign.

Voters want to see physical results. By presenting factual information and proving effectiveness, a candidate becomes reliable. Throughout his campaign commercial, “Go” Obama is portrayed as a dependable candidate. He advertises achievements during his current term as President: “Our greatest enemy brought to justice by our greatest heroes,” and “Instead of losing jobs, we’re creating them … over 4.2 million so far.” By promoting his prior accomplishments, Obama uses solidified claims to guarantee reliability and future success. The voters’ trust is crucial in winning an election. Factual and concrete information guides nominees in acquiring the fundamental and imperative trust needed to thrive as a Presidential candidate.

While content is the core of campaign commercials, much credit is due to the cinematic style of the advertisements. The music and sound effects, setting, tone and voice all contribute to the effectiveness of the commercial. Before the subject matter can be noticed and concentrated on, the audience’s attention must be attracted to the television screen, radio, or webpage. Ron Paul’s campaign ad, “Conviction,” cleverly entrances the audience and efficiently depicts the intended message. Paul utilizes loud and dramatic music, bold and flashy displays, and a strong voice to draw attention to his advertisement. Cinematic technique is the underlying importance in generating a successful campaign commercial.

Photo from Info Web Storm

Various approaches are taken by Presidential candidates to win votes through campaign commercials. A successful candidate must manage the emotions of voters, persuade with promise of change, illustrate the facts, and incorporate attention-grabbing style into his commercials. The methods taken in an effective commercial are evident. After extensive analysis from modern commercials to those dating back to the 1960s, it is easy to evaluate the techniques being used in present-day campaign commercials. Every candidate chooses a distinct style to accentuate each of his commercials, amplify his strengths and influence voters.

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Categories: B1, Learning
  1. May 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Really good job – thoughtful and well-written!! I’m curious: to what extent are television and radio social media? Or, more broadly, what do you mean by the phrase “social media”??

    • May 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

      I consider any program with intentions of conveying a message to a large audience to be social media. Through the phrase “social media,” I was referring to any form of news channels, television shows, movies, radio broadcasts, etc. capable of influencing the viewers’ minds.

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