Title

Stewardship, credibility and political communications: A content analysis of the 2016 election

Publication Date

6-2018

Abstract

Public participation in the democratic process and trust in elected leaders are both declining. Drawing on research from the fields of public relations and communications, this content analysis examines political communication through the lens of credibility and stewardship, both concepts central to predicting favorable relationship maintenance outcomes. In this analysis of all presidential, Senate and congressional candidates in the 2016 election, findings indicated that candidates more commonly communicate ways to provide support for the campaign (relationship nurturing), than demonstrating that they are worthy of being entrusted by the public. In addition, candidates’ communication primarily centered on the candidate being a credible source, neglecting other strategies for demonstrating credibility (digital and content). While there were no significant differences by party affiliation, incumbents and presidential candidates were more likely to communicate some forms of stewardship and credibility.

Keywords

Communication in politics;

Publication Title

Public Relations Review

Volume

44

Issue

2

First Page

247

Last Page

255

DOI of Published Version

10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.01.003

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