•  
  •  
 

Abstract

This study performed content analysis on the general election TV spots from Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign. There was no significant difference in function by incumbency, which is not surprising given that neither major party candidates was the sitting president or vice president. Unlike ads from previous years, these ads contained more attacks (65%) than acclaims (34%; and like earlier campaigns few defenses: 1%). These ads stressed policy (58%) more than character (42%). The Democratic candidate, as in previous elections, discussed policy more, and character less, than the Republican candidate. Both candidates had a tendency to discuss Democratic issues generally (and the economy and jobs in particular), but Obama stressed Democratic issues more, and Republican issues less, than McCain. This essay ends with discussion of some of the unique features of the 2008 general presidential campaign.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.