Candidate Image: When Tweets Trump Tradition

  • Kim Hixson


Donald Trump’s image as a presidential candidate was unconventional and non-traditional, upturning the long-held beliefs about candidate image and its relationship to electoral success. An analysis of 1687 tweets identifies the attributes of candidate image that are reflected in them. In addition, 157 of his tweets mentioned in newspaper articles were analyzed to provide an indication of the image attributes that gained earned media or “free publicity.” Comparing this subset of earned media tweets to all the tweets shows a difference between the candidate-projected image and the media-projected image. One-third of Trump’s tweets contained the anger/aggressive attribute, but a much higher percentage of these tweets was mentioned in the newspaper articles. The media coverage of Trump’s tweets helped him have a much higher value in earned media than his opponents. This advantage, coupled with his victories, leads to questions about how Trump’s tweets will affect candidate messaging and candidate image in future campaigns.


Twitter Candidate image Presidential election Earned media 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Hixson
    • 1
  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

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