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1980 Campaign for Governor in Arkansas

This research examines the 1980 campaign for governor in Arkansas from a political communications perspective. The significance of this research is addressed, the conduct of the campaigns of the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are reviewed, and the implications of the research findings are discussed.

The effectiveness of political campaigns in the United States is increasingly dependent upon the skillful use of political communications (Foltz 17). There is also increasing evidence that voters in the United States are making decisions based on the effectiveness of the communications skills of candidates, and that the effectiveness of the political communications function can preclude any real investigation by voters of the validity of the political messages delivered (Weissberg 33). One implication of these trends is that relatively honest candidates for political office (it is difficult to rate any politician higher than relatively honest) who assume that solid performance will earn voter respect in the absence of political communication characterized by manipulation, misstatement, and pandering more often than not will be doomed to defeat. The real losers in such situations, however, are not the relatively honest politicians. Rather, the real losers are ordinary citizens who will be ill represented in the halls of government. The danger of such outcomes increases with the increasing of single-issue voter motivations in the United States.

The conduct of this current research is unlikely to effect any changes in the trends among voters in the United States. The findings of this research will be worthwhile, however, if relatively honest politicians can learn that they must used political communications in a manner that will effectively present their relatively honest messages so that manipulation, misstatement, and pandering will not become the hallmark of political success in the United States.

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1980 Campaign for Governor in Arkansas. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:38, November 30, 2021, from