A study of how political candidates use persuasive messages on Twitter, specifically toward women voters
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This purpose of this qualitative research is to analyze how political candidates use persuasive messages on Twitter, specifically toward women voters. The use of Twitter by political candidates has become extremely more prevalent since its inception in 2006. Using a rhetorical analysis of 600 tweets between six candidates for the U.S. Senate race in 2018, this study was able to determine how political candidates are using Twitter to convey messages to voters. Once the messages were coded and analyzed, the researcher discovered three main themes: ethos, acclaim, and leadership qualities. The majority of the tweets posted by the six candidates were designed to persuade the voter that the candidate was more favorable than others, more appealing, and typically more credible or created a sense of confidence in voting for this candidate. One of most surprising results of the study was the lack of women-specific messaging. While women make up the largest demographic of undecided voters, the percentage of tweets geared toward women-only was only three percent. Future studies could use this research to determine if the messaging strategies used for Twitter during the election also resulted in winning the Senate seat.