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Women Candidates Use More Positive Language than Men Candidates in Political Campaigns

Exeter Q-Step/NCRM Summer Research Methods Seminar Series, by Dr Akitaka Matsuo from University of Essex

Dr Akitaka Matsuo will be presenting his work with Tiffany Barnes, Charles Crabtree and Yoshikuni Ono. What explains the type of electoral campaign run by politicians? Prior work shows that parties strategically manipulate the level of emotive language used in their campaigns based on their incumbency status, their policy position, and objective economic conditions ...

Event details

While the literature has demonstrated the important role that party characteristics and real-world conditions have in influencing campaign sentiment use, it has largely ignored the potential influence of non-political, individual level attributes, such as gender. In line with a large literature on politics and gender, we argue that women candidates face strategic incentives to be more positive in their assessment of the world around them. We test this claim with a novel data set that captures the emotive language used in over 164,783 tweets posted by 2,662 candidates for elected office in the United Kingdom during the 2017 and 2019 elections. Consistent with prior literature, we find that candidates running from the ruling party use more positive sentiment than those running from the opposition party. Importantly, as we predicted, we also find that women candidates are more positive than their men counterparts – and that this positivity is even higher for incumbent women candidates than nonincumbents. Our analysis has important implications for research on gender and campaign strategies.

This seminar will be delivered online. Register your details here to receive a link to the live session on the day: