The Electronic Election: Perspectives on the 1996 Campaign Communication

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Dianne G. Bystrom | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 21
Gendered Communication Styles and Strategies in Campaign 1996: The Videostyles of Women and Men Candidates

Dianne G. Bystrom Iowa State University

Jerry L. Miller Ohio University

With significantly more women entering the political arena, researchers are becoming increasingly interested in exploring differences and similarities in the campaign communication styles and strategies of female and male candidates. Studies investigating the role of gender in campaign communication have become more feasible, from a methodological perspective, since the 1992 elections when record numbers of women sought and won political office.

Since the "Year of the Woman" candidate in 1992, women have held their own in the world of politics, from the state legislature through the U.S. Congress. Despite the Republican landslide of 1994, women maintained their 21% representation in state legislatures. Women won one in 1993 and lost one in 1994 in governor races, with Christine Todd Whitman defeating incumbent Jim Florio in New Jersey and incumbent Ann Richards losing to George W. Bush, Jr., in Texas. In Congress, women held 48 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and increased their numbers in the U.S. Senate from seven to eight (Center for the American Woman and Politics, 1997).

Women candidates continued to make gains in the 1996 elections at the state and national levels. Women increased their representation in state legislatures to 21.5% (Center for the American Woman and Politics, 1997). New Hampshire elected its first woman governor, Jeanne Shaheen. Women surpassed the "50" mark in the U.S. House of Representatives, with 51 women

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