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2009 - Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference Words: 178 words || 
1. McDermott, Monika. "Mitt Romney and the Role of Mormon Stereotypes in the 2008 Republican Presidential Primaries" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2019-06-26 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In 2008, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney became the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to compete electorally for the presidency of the United States (his father, George Romney, was a candidate in 1968 but withdrew before any primary contests). This paper analyzes the effect, if any, that Romney’s Mormon faith had on people’s perceptions of him, and his resultant electoral performance. An original experimental survey from October, 2007 establishes that Americans hold relatively negative stereotypes of, and correspondingly negative attitudes toward Mormons in both society and politics. Analysis also shows that these negative attitudes impacted individuals’ early views of Mitt Romney as a person, as well as voters’ perceptions of his chances as a presidential contender. The analysis then turns to individual state pre-election surveys and exit polls to demonstrate how these views translated into support or opposition among the Republican primary electorate in the early 2008 contests. Overall the paper establishes the link between individuals’ stereotypes of religious affiliations and their application of them in the real-world of electoral politics.

2012 - Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Pages: unavailable || Words: 9103 words || 
2. Vargo, Christopher. and Arguello, Jaime. "The Unintended Consequences of “Moderate Mitt:” The Ideologies of Mitt Romney & Second-level Agenda Setting" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago, IL, Aug 09, 2012 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-06-26 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This second-level agenda-setting study suggests that Newt Gingrich’s vocal outbursts on Mitt Romney’s liberalism and moderateness, which were subsequently covered by newspapers, may have not only cost Gingrich votes in the 2012 GOP race but also encouraged moderate, liberal and independent voters to support Romney.
This study retrieved newspaper stories from Twitter and performed a content analysis. Combined with Gallup poll data that segmented voters by demographic and ideology, the researchers found sufficient support

2007 - Midwest Political Science Association Pages: 17 pages || Words: 7349 words || 
3. Welch, Reed. and Jensen, Ric. "When Religion is an Issue: Mitt Romney's Campaigns in Massachusetts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL, Apr 12, 2007 <Not Available>. 2019-06-26 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In recent years the influence of religion on politics has become more recognized in academia, the media, and among politicians. In the political science literature, for example, studies have ranged from examining religious groups’ participation in campaigns to how religion influences voting behavior. The news media in covering campaigns and discussing election results often highlight the importance of religion, and candidates themselves frequently and openly discuss their religious beliefs.

Although the influence of religion on politics has been covered more in the literature and the news media in recent years, relatively little attention has been dedicated to how candidates should present their religious beliefs to the public, how the media cover a candidate’s religion, or what affect that coverage has on the campaign. How a candidate and the media discuss a religion is especially important to a candidate and his electoral fortunes when the candidate’s religious beliefs fall outside the mainstream (not Protestant or Catholic) and stories circulate about those beliefs. This is currently happening with Mitt Romney, a Mormon, who is running for the Republican nomination for president. Romney has the credentials to be a viable candidate for president, but a number of pundits have said that Romney’s biggest hurdle in getting the nomination is his religion. Such commentary begs the questions of the role of the media in covering a candidate’s religion and how candidates like Romney should handle questions about their religion.

To examine questions about the media’s coverage of a candidate and his religion and how it affects the candidate and the campaign, this paper examines Mitt Romney’s campaigns in Massachusetts (when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and for governor in 2002), and his current campaign for the presidency. In each of his Massachusetts campaigns (especially in the 1994 election), religion was a storyline that he was forced to deal with. By examining Romney’s campaigns in Massachusetts we will not only see how the media covered his religion and how Romney responded, but we will also gain a greater understanding of the challenges and opposition Romney will face because of his religious beliefs in his campaign for the presidency this year. The lessons presented here ought to be of value not only for studying Romney and other Mormon candidates but also for other candidates for elected office who are not members of mainstream Christian faiths.

2013 - International Communication Association Words: 673 words || 
4. Mueller, Marion. and Kappas, Arvid. "Politics Mitt Romney Style: Gangnam Style as a Cross-Cultural Visual Meme – Online Citizen Creativity and the Power of Digitally Facilitated Political Prosumer Participation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, England, <Not Available>. 2019-06-26 <>
Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: Politics – and U.S. presidential politics in particular – are no longer driven by television as they used to be in the past century (Müller, 1997). Political communication in the 21st century is battled, driven, and won online. Visuals play a powerful role, since visual logic is based on association rather than on argument (Müller, 2003, 2007, 2011), eliciting oftentimes strong emotional reactions, which create particular styles of visual communication, rooted in socio-cultural display rules, as well as culturally coded depiction rules within biological constraints (Müller & Kappas, 2011). However, visuals are rarely used in isolation. Rather, they are typically multimodal in nature (Mitchell, 2005; Bateman, 2008; Van Leeuwen, 2008).

This paper uses the example of a viral music video, produced by the South-Korean rapper PSY in fall 2012. Only weeks after its global online release the hits on YouTube surpassed the 450 million views mark. But not only was this online video one of the most watched cultural productions ever, enlarging the scope of mass communication‘s meaning to a global dimension. Additionally, countless prosumer produced (Toffler, 1980) variations and parodies were uploaded – from a North-Korean parody (“Kim Jong Style“), to Chile (“Cueca Style“), from a Philippine prison performance to an anti-Mitt Romney parody (“Mitt Romney Style“) in the ongoing US-presidential campaign. Music videos have already been a staple and a powerful weapon to enhance voter participation in the previous presidential election, when a video produced by the band Black Eyed Peas’ frontman Will.I.Am reproduced Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes, We Can“. This paper analyzes the cross-cultural transfer of style and meaning with the example of the cultural meme (Dawkins, 1976) “Gangnam Style“, using a mixed-method design – a pairing of political iconology and multi-level psychological science (van Leeuwen, 2001; Kappas, 2002; Müller, 2011; Müller, Kappas & Olk, 2012) in order to come to terms with the politico-visual production and reception processes in contemporary online campaigns.

Technological constraints for sophisticated audio-visual creation become less of an issue for the production of visual or multi-modal contents, due to the availability of powerful editing facilities, even on hand-held devices. Thus, source material availability, creativity, and intellectual property become determining factors for future developments in prosumer generated content in political discourse. Tools for analysis of the propagation of multi-modal memes in social networks are urgently needed as present developments focus on text-based methods, e.g., sentiment-mining (Thelwall et al., 2010).


Bateman, J. (2008). Genre and multimodality. A foundation for the systematic analysis of multimodal documents. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dawkins, R. (1976). The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mitchell, W. J. T. (2005). There are no visual media. Journal of Visual Culture, 4(2), 257-266.

Müller, M. G. (1997). Politische Bildstrategien im amerikanischen Präsidentschaftswahlkampf, 1828-1996. [Political image strategies in US-presidential campaigning, 1828-1996]. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

Müller, M. G. (2003). Grundlagen der visuellen Kommunikation. [Basics of visual communication] Konstanz: UVK, utb.

Müller, M. G. (2007). What is visual communication? Past and future of an emerging field of communication research. Studies in Communication Sciences, 7(2), 7-34.

Müller, M. G. (2011). Iconography and iconology as a visual method and approach. In E. Margolis & L. Pauwels (Eds.), The Sage handbook of visual research methods (pp. 283-297). London: Sage.

Müller, M. G., & Kappas, A. (2011). Visual emotions – emotional visuals. Emotions, pathos formulae, and their relevance for communication research. In K. Döveling, C. von Scheve & E. Konijn (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of emotions and mass media (pp. 310-331). Oxon: Routledge.

Müller, M. G., Kappas, A. & Olk, B. (2012). Perceiving press photography. A new integrative model, combining iconology with psychophysiological and eye tracking methods. In J. Holsanova (Eds.), Multimodal methodologies. Special issue Visual Communication, 11(3), 297-318.

Thelwall, M., Buckley, K., Paltoglou, G., Cai, D., & Kappas, A. (2010). Sentiment strength detection in short informal text. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(12), 2544-2558.

Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave. New York: Bantham.

van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Semiotics and iconography. In T. van Leeuwen & C. Jewitt (Eds.), Handbook of visual analysis (pp. 96-118). London: Sage.

van Leeuwen, T. (2008). New forms of writing, new visual competencies. Visual Studies, 23(2), 130-135.

2018 - MPSA Annual Conference Pages: unavailable || Words: unavailable || 
5. Fang, Xiaodong. "Did Anti-China Ads Work in the 2012 Presidential Election? A Quantitative Analysis of Mitt Romney’s ‘Failing American Workers’ Campaign Commercial" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual Conference, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 05, 2018 <Not Available>. 2019-06-26 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: What impact does the anti-China rhetoric have on voters? Is it an effective strategy for presidential candidates to spend millions of dollars airing anti-China ads? These questions, underexplored in the literature, are examined in the paper.

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