The Rhetoric of Political Leadership
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The Rhetoric of Political Leadership

Logic and Emotion in Public Discourse

Edited by Ofer Feldman

This timely book details the theoretical and practical elements of political rhetoric and their effects on the interactions between politicians and the public. Expert contributors explore the issues associated with political rhetoric from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, linguistics, social psychology and communication studies. Chapters examine what makes a speech effective, politicians’ use of moral appeals in political advertising, political attacks on social media, and gender and emotion in political discourse.
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Chapter 10: Facial expressions in election campaign posters: the effect of smiling on winning political seats during the 2017 Japanese lower house election

Masahiko Asano


Existing studies have shown that more attractive candidates running for office have an electoral advantage. We extend this research in two ways. First, we examine this relationship further in a non-Western context using the 2017 lower house election in Japan. Second, employing the latest cutting-edge face-recognition technology to measure candidate smile on campaign posters, we provide new evidence suggesting that a candidate smile has an effect on vote share depending on the number of candidates running in a single-member district. The results of regression analyses using the latest Japanese lower house election data show that the impact of candidate smile matters only in the electoral districts where the total number of candidates exceeds five for challengers.

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