Date of Award

Spring 1987

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

William Huber

Second Advisor

Henry Burgess

Third Advisor

Harry Smith


In this study, we will examine the effects that strategies, for the use of available political communication channels, can have on potential and existing political careers. Using the incumbent campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, we will discuss the ability of each to utilize these strategies in their campaign communication, and the effect which those abilities had on their political success, or lack thereof. Mr. Reagan, we will see, has been extremely successful in his use of communication channels. Mr. Carter, on the other hand, attempted, but was unsuccessful at communicating a positive public image. In order to be thorough in our investigation, we will employ the use of several approaches to the issue of political communication strategies. We will begin by examining a list of campaign communication strategies, provided by the works of Judith S. Trent and Robert V. Friedenberg, and the effects that each can have on political campaigns. Secondly, we will analyze the 1980 incumbent campaign of Jimmy Carter, as it compares to the set of strategies that Trent and Friedenberg have given us. Thirdly, we will analyze Ronald Reagan's 1984 incumbent campaign according to the same criteria. Lastly, we will come to some general conclusions about the roles which communication strategies can play in a political campaign.