The Weight of Image

How much weight does a candidate’s image have on an election outcome? It’s a basic assumption that candidate’s appearance and behavior have an effect on how voters perceive them and in turn, vote for them. Little research has ever been done on this topic to support this theory however. One scholarly article titled “The Image and the Vote: The Effect of Candidate Presentation on Voter Preference” provides a great analysis on the importance of voter image. According to the article “How a political candidate looks and speaks has a significant impact on that candidates chances of being elected – style shapes image and image affects the vote. These claims are political truisms of the television era. Election commentary invariably focuses on candidate’s images and their image- making strategies. A good example of this is provided by the news commentary of the 1984 democratic president primaries. Attention centered on the role of image – the strength of Gary Hart’s image and the weakness of the images of the initially more prominent Alan Cranston and John Glenn”. While there is not substantiated research on the subject of voters opinions and a candidates image there is definitely a correlation between the two. For more information on the subject I recommend reading the full article at http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2111296?uid=3739920&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21101360820247

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Rain or Shine

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With the recent party conventions taking place outside the presidential candidates were secretly celebrating. While giving their speeches in the rain may not seem like the most glamorous or presidential scenario it may actually be preferred by some candidates. Candidates have always been fans of foul weather; nothing says dedication like standing out in the cold, rain, snow, or wind and giving your speech anyway while still trying to look presidential. Both Romney and Obama were photographed giving their speeches in the foul weather although their style for the rain was very different. Obama was seen wearing just a simple button down and Romney wore a more rain appropriate over coat. While their different styles may not have said anything special about what they stand for the fact that they stood out in the rain does. Each candidate was trying to show that they are the most dedicated candidate. It doesn’t look good when a candidate reschedules a speech because of a little bit of rain. We will have to see how this demonstration of dedication pays off for each of the candidates in the coming weeks.

 

photos courtesy of : The Caucus and Angryblackwomancronicles

Traditional Fashion

While the current First Lady may be known for her fashion forward sense of style Mrs. Romney is definitely known for her more conservative sense of style. Romney portrays a more traditional first lady look. I believe each woman’s look reflects each of their husband’s respective views. The Obama’s more liberal forward thinking views versus the Romney’s more conservative views. Recently I ran across a photo collection of some of Romney’s recent outfits and you can click on the link below to view it.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2012/08/27/ann-romney-fashion-from-the-campaign-trail-photos.html#slide_10

The War on Arms

It’s no secret that the First Lady has amazing upper arms and has made it quite popular among american women to want to show off their arms as well. But should they be? Most women do not have the same toned arms that Mrs. Obama does and many of them are upset about it. In an essay recently written on the subject the author Joyce Purnick was quoted saying “The first lady has made it unacceptable for women to appear in public with covered arms… Those bare, toned, elegant arms of hers have spawned an epidemic of sleevelessness, exposing arms, arms, arms, and not all of them toned and elegant.”

Biker Biden

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With all the negative media attention Mitt Romney has been facing lately for comments made this past month, the Republican candidates images have been pretty damaged. But what about the Democratic candidates images? One thing’s for certain, they definitely haven’t been getting the same type of attention as the Republicans.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden was recently seen with a “Biker Chick” getting quite comfy on his lap. This is just one of many strange slip ups the candidate has made in the past. It seems as though his bizarre behaviors such as allowing questionable looking biker women to sit on his lap because “there weren’t any chairs available” or dropping the F-bomb when congratulating the president on passing Obama care receive noticeably less bad media attention than comments made by the republican candidates. And let’s not forget a few years ago when the Vice President said “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…. I’m not joking”.  While the media spends most of its time criticizing the republican candidates and does not acknowledge how equally strange some of the democratic candidates behaviors are.

Democratic campaign would like us to think Romney hasnt got a clue

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Romney was recently reported saying that he was unsure as to why planes didn’t have windows that open. While the Democratic Party would have you believe Romney said this because he doesn’t have a basic grasp of the science behind air travel, this quote was taken out of context. The Left is taking any opportunity it can to fuel the thought that Romney hasn’t got a clue what’s going on.

Here you can read an article from Hot Air including the whole quote.  http://hotair.com/archives/2012/09/24/todays-alleged-romney-gaffe-he-doesnt-know-that-you-cant-open-the-windows-on-airplanes-or-something/

Cartoon courtesy of politicalcartoons.com

The Romney Recovery

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In the wake of the comments that Romney made about 47% of Americans being “victims” his campaign managers were forced to take a new approach to improve his image. His new campaign strategy is to focus on him. It was pretty clear after all the aftermath of his recent comments that relying solely on the presidential debates to win the election. The new approach of focusing more on mitt will include more appearances of him both in public and in new ads. The new approach also calls for him to spend more time talking about his plans for office and how they will affect the average American family.

A top republican working closely with the campaign said “The plan, described by top aides and advisers in interviews this week, is an acknowledgment that Romney is in enough of a hole that he cannot depend on the presidential debates to turn his candidacy around. In fact, Romney, who recently did five mock debates in a 48-hour period to practice up, has confided to advisers that it may be hard to win a debate because every attack against President Barack Obama will seem stale, while the attacks on him will seem fresher and newsier to a hostile media. Instead, Romney plans to dial back on fundraisers and vastly increase his personal appearances – both on the stump and in ads – to convince what’s left of the undecided voters that Obama has been a disappointment and that he has a specific plan that is less risky than the status quo. Rather than talk about the broader economy, Romney will increasingly talk about his plans in terms of the effect on families, the aides said. This started before the Republican convention, when he boiled his 59-point plan for the national economy down to a five-point “Plan for a Stronger Middle Class.” The emerging strategy comes after several days of soul-searching. Romney officials are very clear-eyed about the damage done by two straight weeks of bad media coverage and the embarrassing comments caught on tape (see below for their assessment of what hurt the most in the past 10 days). They don’t dispute they are locked in serious turbulence, but also take solace that things are not worse after what they consider the darkest stretch of the campaign. We are going to look back at this as the week he got his act together or the beginning of the end”

Romney’s image was greatly hurt by his comments and hopefully this new approach will be enough to save his reputation.

Quote from: http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/09/the-more-mitt-plan-136082.html

photo from: Elections Meter

Different Parties, Different Fashions

While there might not be many things the Republicans and Democrats agree on these days there is one thing that all of American can come to a consensus on, the presidential candidates wives have some great fashion. Earlier this month at each of the parties conventions the wives of the candidates were one of the most talked about subjects, and their dresses were no exception.

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While each woman’s choice reflected her individual style I also believe that their fashion choices reflect the direction of their respected parties.

Michelle Obama wore a dress designed by Tracy Reese, a relatively new designer. Her dress was moderately priced and well liked by critics for its flattering shape and modern design with a vibrant pink and gold pattern. I personally feel that while her look was definitely fashionable it was not necessarily the “classic First Lady look”. However it is usually Michelle’s signature to dress in very fashion forward styles that bring a new freshness to the White House. I feel this directly reflects her husbands roll of bringing “change” to America. Michelle’s dress, while not the classic look, definitely fits the image of newness and change that she and her husband are trying to present to America.

On the contrary Ann Romney channeled the classic first lady look in a patriotic red Oscar de La Renta dress. Her choice had quite a larger price tag than Mrs. Obama’s dress and was praised by critics for its classic look and eye popping color. Ann’s dress definitely was a more conservative pick and like Michelle’s choice reflected her husbands views. While Michelle’s dress reflected the change her and her husband promise to bring to America, Ann’s dress represented the more conservative views of her husband.

I recommend you read this article http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/09/fancy-dress-face-ann-romney-vs-michelle-obama/56535/ by The Atlantic Wire for a closer look at the wives fashion of the night. I found it quite interesting to see the comparison of the dresses.

photo credit: The Atlantic Wire

What’s it all about?

Welcome to The Art of Perception, an opinion blog that aims to look at the ways in which candidates (particularly the 2012 presidential election’s candidates) perceived images affect the way voters view them. I will be looking at several aspects of the candidates images including, although not limited to religion, family life, fashion, and behavior at public appearances.

With the growing popularity of technology over the past few decades, elections as we know them have changed. It has become much easier through the use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to stay updated with the daily activities of candidates, especially those activities that arent necessarily on national news. Candidates are constantly under scrutiny and often times voters who are not dedicated to a certain party can be swayed by something more personal such as a candidate’s religion or family life. The issue of image has been historically looked at as more important to female voters, but with access to photos and updates of candidate’s daily lives, males and females alike are taking things like image more and more seriously when choosing a candidate. To the candidates, America is always watching.