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Political Campaign Communication

Principles and Practices, Eighth Edition

Judith S. Trent; Robert V. Friedenberg and Robert E. Denton Jr.

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Paperback
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This eighth edition of Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices provides a clear understanding of the strategic decisions made and tactical communication practices used in contemporary political campaigns.

The authors:
  • incorporate examples from all levels—local, statewide, and national—to illustrate the communicative choices confronted in contemporary political campaigns,
  • discuss all aspects of campaign communication, from buttons and yard-signs to the rapid expansion in use of social media, and
  • draw on a wealth of communication theories to clearly explain contemporary principles and practices such as functions, stages, communicative styles, public speaking, debates, interpersonal communication, political advertising, and the use of new communication technologies.

Updated to reflect practices in the 2012 presidential campaign as well as the local, state, and congressional campaigns of 2014, Political Campaign Communication continues to be a classroom favorite—an insightful, thoroughly researched, and reader-friendly text.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 384Size: 7 x 10
978-1-4422-4333-0 • Hardback • November 2015 • $99.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-4422-4334-7 • Paperback • November 2015 • $48.00 • (£32.95)
978-1-4422-4335-4 • eBook • November 2015 • $45.00 • (£29.95)
Judith S. Trent is professor emerita of communication at the University of Cincinnati. Robert V. Friedenberg is professor emeritus of communication at Miami University of Ohio. Robert E. Denton, Jr., is the W. Thomas Rice Chair of Leadership Studies in the Pamplin College of Business and professor and department chair of communication at Virginia Tech.
Preface

Chapter 1: Communication and Political Campaigns: A Prologue
Importance of Political Campaigns
Changes in the Political Campaign
Communication and Political Campaigns
Organization and Preview of Chapters

Part I: Principles of Political Campaign Communication
Chapter 2: Communicative Functions of Political Campaigns
First Political Stage: Surfacing
Second Political Stage: Primaries
Third Political Stage: Nominating Conventions
Fourth Political Stage: The General Election
Conclusions

Chapter 3: Communicative Styles and Strategies of Political Campaigns
Preliminary Considerations
Styles and Strategies of Campaigns
Conclusions

Chapter 4: Communicative Mass Channels of Political Campaigning
Early Studies
Contemporary Studies
Conclusions

Chapter 5: Communicative Types and Functions of Televised Political Advertising
Historical Development
Types and Functions of Political Ads
Televised Attack Advertising When the Candidate Is a Woman
A Final Question: Do Televised Attack Ads Work?
Conclusions

Part II: Practices of Political Campaign Communication
Chapter 6: Public Speaking in Political Campaigns
The Decision to Speak
The Speech
Political Speechwriting
Surrogate Speakers
Conclusions

Chapter 7: Recurring Forms of Political Campaign Communication 161
Announcement Speeches
Acceptance Addresses
News Conferences
Apologias
Conclusions

Chapter 8: Debates in Political Campaigns
History of Political Debates
Deciding Whether to Debate
Political Debate Strategies
Effects of Political Debates
Conclusions

Chapter 9: Interpersonal Communication in Political Campaigns
Interpersonal Communication between Candidate and Voters
Interpersonal Communication between the Candidate and Prospective Financial Contributors
Interpersonal Communication between Voters
Interpersonal Communication among Voters, Mass Media, and Voting Behavior
Interpersonal Communication and Getting-Out-the-Vote Efforts
Behavioral Characteristics of Successful Interpersonal Campaigns
Conclusions

Chapter 10: Advertising in Political Campaigns
Developing a Master Plan for Political Advertising
Basic Considerations in the Selection of Political Advertising Media
Campaign Advertising Strategies
Media and Other Types of Political Consultants
Conclusions

Chapter 11: New Communication Technologies and Political Campaigns
Historical Overview of Campaigns and New Communication Technologies
Internet Campaign Communication Strategy
Internet Tools
Conclusions

Notes
Index
Political Campaign Communication is deservedly an institution, established as the seminal study of election campaigning and the role of strategic communication since its first edition. This updated eighth edition—which features examples from recent campaigns and explores the use of digital technologies—continues to position the book as the key manual for understanding U.S. elections.
Darren G. Lilleker, Bournemouth University


Political Campaign Communication is an expert take on the many important roles that communication plays in political campaigns. Clearly organized and well written, the book draws on lively examples from the past and present to illuminate its subject matter. There is little doubt that the new eighth edition of this classic text will appeal to students and professors alike.
Kevin M. Coe, University of Utah


The updated eighth edition of this book maintains its position as an outstanding and comprehensive examination of American political campaign communication, both in theory and practice. Because campaign procedures in other parts of the world are often inspired by campaign features initially elaborated in an American context, it will also be of great interest to international students and scholars.
Lars W. Nord, Mid Sweden University


This book masterfully introduces and explains key concepts, terms, and contexts that help us understand campaign rhetoric and communication in the specific context of the U.S. political scene. Communication is at the core of every political campaign, and Trent, Friedenberg, and Denton make us smarter about how it works. Scholars of campaign rhetoric, media commentators, and general audiences all have something to learn from Political Campaign Communication.
Paul Achter, University of Richmond


Historical Perspective: Details the changes in the history of political campaigning, including the decline of parties, finance reform, and political action committees

Contemporary Context: Incorporates examples from contemporary campaigns as well as the freshest theoretical concepts

Multifaceted Analysis: Probes the communication strategies of incumbents, challengers, and incumbent/challengers and all aspects of communication from buttons and yard signs to the rapidly expanded use of social media

Basic Information on Speeches and Political Debates: Thoroughly examines stock speeches, speechwriting, and contemporary political debate strategies

Political Advertising Summary: Analyzes eight forms of advertising commonly used in political campaigns and the types and functions of televised political advertising as used by contemporary male and female candidates

Description of the Four Stages: Explains the four stages of political campaigns, including a detailed examination of surfacing

Wide-ranging: Utilizes examples from local and state campaigns as well as the national political stage

Material New to the Eighth Edition: All chapters have been updated to reflect practices in the 2012 presidential campaign as well as the local, state, and congressional campaigns of 2014. Expanded examination of new communication technologies and social media explains the rapid growth in use of these tools during political campaigns

New Bibliographic Information: Includes a number of new reference citations with particular mention of the most recent political communication publications

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