This study investigates messages in the surfacing phase of the presidential campaign, through a content analysis of presidential candidacy announcement speeches from the 2008 and 2012 elections. This study applied the Functional Theory of Political Campaign Discourse to nine Democratic announcement speeches from 2008, 11 Republican announcement addresses from 2008, and 12 Republican announcement speeches from 2012. This work extends previous research on announcement speeches from 1960-2004 (Benoit, Henson, Whalen, & Pier, 2007). Overall, announcements from 2008 and 2012 used acclaims (75%) more than attacks (25%) or defenses (0.5%). The same announcements discussed policy more than character (58% to 42%); Democrats in 2008 dis-cussed policy more, and character less, than Republicans in that campaign. General goals and ideals were used more often as the basis of acclaims than attacks in these speeches. These speeches were more negative (25% to 22% attacks) and discussed policy more (58% to 50%) and character less (42% to 50%) than past announcements. In 2008, Democratic speeches discussed Democratic issues more, and Republican issues less, than Republican speeches.

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.