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Functional Theory (Benoit, 2007) predicts that acclaims will be more common than attacks: Acclaims have no drawbacks, but many voters report that they dislike mudslinging (Merritt, 1984; Stewart, 1975) so there is some incentive to moderate attacks.
H1: American presidential debates in the 2008 general election campaign will use more acclaims than attacks and more attacks than defenses.
As the literature review indicated, incumbents tend to be more positive (more acclaims, fewer attacks) than challengers (Benoit, 2007).
But the Acclaim never lived up to its name in the long term.
The Acclaim was intended to be a stop-gap model between the old fashioned Triumph Dolomite and the lacklustre British Leyland Maestro, yet it was streets ahead of the pair of them.
This study will employ the same procedures developed and applied in previous research on political campaign messages by analyzing themes and dividing them into attacks, acclaims, and defenses on either policy or character matters (e.g., Benoit, Brazeal, & Aine, 2007; Benoit & Harthcock, 1999).
45% of utterances were acclaims (837), 49% were attacks (912), and 60% were defenses (117).
Initially, Functional Theory explains that acclaims have no drawbacks, whereas attacks have a single drawback: voters say they dislike mudslinging, which could result in a backlash against a candidate airing attacks in an ad (Merritt, 1984; Stewart, 1975).
H1: Candidates will use acclaims more frequently than attacks; defenses will be used least often.
Pamela Benoit (1997) defines acclaims, or self-praise, as utterances with two key components: "increased responsibility and the positive evaluation of an act" (p.
The Appendix illustrates acclaims and attacks on each form of policy and character with excerpts from the second 1988 debate.
The arrangement between Rover and Honda which resulted in the 216 and its spin offs was under different rules, but there is no doubt that the pioneering little Acclaim led the way and demonstrated just what could be done when two nations put their minds to it.