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The Impact of Media Coverage on Voter Perceptions of Hillary Clinton’s Femininity in the 2008 Democratic Primary Elections

1. Introduction

In the 2008 Democratic Party primary elections, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) was the first female to run for president on a major party ticket. Although Clinton lost the nomination to Barack Obama (D-IL), her campaign was significant as it brought gender into the forefront of political discussion in the United States. This paper will examine how media coverage of Sen. Clinton's feminine characteristics affect the outcome of the 2008 Democratic primary elections. In particular, this research will focus on how the media's framing of Clinton's femininity impacted voter perceptions of her during the primaries.

2. Literature review

There is a growing body of scholarship that has examined how gender affects voting behavior in presidential elections (see Conover 1988; Cook 1991; Krebs 1998; Lovenduski and Norris 1993; Riley and Eckert 2003; Sanbonmatsu 2006). Studies have found that while voters are more likely to support male candidates in general elections, they are more likely to vote for female candidates in primaries (Conover 1988; Cook 1991; Riley and Eckert 2003). This "gender gap" in voting behavior has been attributed to several factors, including women's greater likelihood of being Democrats, their lower level of interest in politics, and their greater propensity to vote based on "societal issues" rather than "party politics" (Cook 1991, p. 48).

In addition to studies on voting behavior, there is also a growing body of scholarship that has examined how gender affects media coverage of presidential campaigns (see Bean and Dornbusch 1990; Bystrom et al. 1996; Carroll and Maisani 1993; Carroll et al. 1995; Inglehart 1977; Knightley 1985; Wolbrecht and Campbell 2007). Studies have found that while male candidates receive more media coverage than female candidates in general elections, they receive less coverage than female candidates in primaries (Bystrom et al. 1996). This "gender gap" in media coverage has been attributed to several factors, including journalists' beliefs that women are not "serious" contenders for the presidency, that they are not "electable" in general elections, and that they are more likely to be perceived as "feminine" than male candidates (Bystrom et al. 1996, p. 72).

These findings suggest that gender plays an important role in both presidential campaigns andmedia coverage of presidential campaigns. However, there is still much we do not know about how gender affects voter perceptions of candidates or how media coverage of candidates' gender affects voter perceptions. In particular, there is little scholarly work on how journalists' frame feminine characteristics when covering female candidates or how voters react to this type of coverage. This research seeks to fill this gap in the literature by investigating how media coverage of Sen. Clinton'}s feminine characteristics affected voter perceptions of her during the 2008 Democratic primaries.

3. Research design

This research will be conducted using a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative content analysis of media coverage with qualitative interviews of voters. Content analysis will be used to examine how Clinton's feminine characteristics were framed by the media during the primaries. In particular, this analysis will focus on how often Clinton was described as "feminine" or "womanly," how she was portrayed in visual images, and whether there was a difference in the way she was covered by male and female journalists. This content analysis will be conducted using a sample of articles from three major newspapers (The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times) from January 1-June 30, 2008.

In addition to content analysis, this research will also include qualitative interviews with 30 voters who participated in the 2008 Democratic primaries. These interviews will explore how voters perceived Clinton's femininity and how it affected their vote choice in the primaries. Interviewees will be recruited through purposive sampling of likely primary voters in New York and California.

4. Conclusion

This paper has proposed a research project on how media coverage of Sen. Clinton's feminine characteristics affect the outcome of the 2008 Democratic primary elections. This research will contribute to our understanding of both gender and media effects in presidential campaigns by examining how journalists' frame feminine characteristics when covering female candidates and how voters react to this type of coverage.

FAQ

Some of the feminine characteristics that Sen. Clinton possesses are her compassion, empathy, and ability to connect with people on a personal level.

These characteristics have helped her in her political career by making her more relatable and approachable to voters, and by helping her to build strong relationships with other politicians.

I think she uses these traits to her advantage; they help her to stand out from other politicians who may be seen as more cold or distant.

If she were a man with the same feminine characteristics, I think people would perceive him as weak or effeminate.

I would say she is a strong woman because of these traits; they show that she is capable of being both compassionate and tough.

If she did not display these qualities, I think the public’s perception of her would be much colder and more negative.

Yes, I believe Hillary Clinton is an effective role model for young women, given her possession of traditionally feminine qualities.

Cite this assignment

Free Essay Samples (October 2, 2022) The Impact of Media Coverage on Voter Perceptions of Hillary Clinton’s Femininity in the 2008 Democratic Primary Elections. Retrieved from https://essayholic.com/the-impact-of-media-coverage-on-voter-perceptions-of-hillary-clintons-femininity-in-the-2008-democratic-primary-elections/.
"The Impact of Media Coverage on Voter Perceptions of Hillary Clinton’s Femininity in the 2008 Democratic Primary Elections." Free Essay Samples - October 2, 2022, https://essayholic.com/the-impact-of-media-coverage-on-voter-perceptions-of-hillary-clintons-femininity-in-the-2008-democratic-primary-elections/
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"The Impact of Media Coverage on Voter Perceptions of Hillary Clinton’s Femininity in the 2008 Democratic Primary Elections." Free Essay Samples - Accessed October 2, 2022. https://essayholic.com/the-impact-of-media-coverage-on-voter-perceptions-of-hillary-clintons-femininity-in-the-2008-democratic-primary-elections/
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