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A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in Mexicos 2000 Presidential Campaign
Unformatted Document Text:  14 were assigned to two categories of candidates: traditional and non-traditional candidates (see Table 1). This distinction was made in order to study the Mexican electoral context, were a transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime was occurring. The division on candidate image attributes was considered relevant to describe how candidates were perceived and how were they portrayed before the public in the election. Several specific characteristics were considered as values for politicians in the traditional non-competitive political context, such as competence, intelligence, knowledge, and experience (Camp, 1984, p. 130). Usually candidates campaigned in Mexico to convince the public that they knew how to conduct government business. An example of this is President Zedillo’s slogan when running for office in 1994: “He knows how to do it” (El, sabe cómo hacerlo). This slogan illustrates the importance of knowledge and expertise over personality and popularity in a non competitive electoral system as Mexico was prior the 2000 election. Coding Candidate Image A coding manual was developed in order to operationalize the concept of candidate image by defining its attributes. Coding on image could be very subjective, however. Instead of trying to make inferences of the whole image as positive or negative, by watching the tape recordings of debates and news, the definition of particular attributes that conform to the concept of candidate image is helpful for finding patterns of candidate images portrayed on the debates and in news coverage. Measures for competence, trustworthiness, honesty, charisma, and homophily were developed in the coding manual in order to identify patterns of communicating and reporting image. A coding item was developed for measuring each image attribute in debate participation and news coverage. This item was applied to the evaluation of each candidate. Numerical

Authors: Mercado, Antonieta., Hellweg, Susan., Dozier, David. and Hofstetter, C..
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14
were assigned to two categories of candidates: traditional and
non-traditional candidates (see Table 1). This distinction was
made in order to study the Mexican electoral context, were a
transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime was
occurring. The division on candidate image attributes was
considered relevant to describe how candidates were perceived
and how were they portrayed before the public in the election.
Several specific characteristics were considered as values for
politicians in the traditional non-competitive political
context, such as competence, intelligence, knowledge, and
experience (Camp, 1984, p. 130). Usually candidates campaigned
in Mexico to convince the public that they knew how to conduct
government business. An example of this is President Zedillo’s
slogan when running for office in 1994: “He knows how to do
it” (El, sabe cómo hacerlo). This slogan illustrates the
importance of knowledge and expertise over personality and
popularity in a non competitive electoral system as Mexico was
prior the 2000 election.
Coding Candidate Image
A coding manual was developed in order to operationalize
the concept of candidate image by defining its attributes.
Coding on image could be very subjective, however. Instead of
trying to make inferences of the whole image as positive or
negative, by watching the tape recordings of debates and news,
the definition of particular attributes that conform to the
concept of candidate image is helpful for finding patterns of
candidate images portrayed on the debates and in news
coverage.
Measures for competence, trustworthiness, honesty,
charisma, and homophily were developed in the coding manual in
order to identify patterns of communicating and reporting
image. A coding item was developed for measuring each image
attribute in debate participation and news coverage. This item
was applied to the evaluation of each candidate. Numerical


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