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Title: Did Obamacare create new jobs?-An analysis of Mitt Romney's use of rhetorical questions in the 2012 US presidential election campaign
Authors: Wong, SMC
Yap, FH 
Keywords: 2012 US presidential election campaign
Audience involvement
Common ground
Mitt romney
Political discourse
Rhetorical questions
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter
Source: Text and talk, 2015, v. 35, no. 5, p. 643-668 How to cite?
Journal: Text and talk 
Abstract: This paper examines how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's use of rhetorical questions (RQs) in the 2012 US presidential election varies depending on the target audience. We first classify the US states into: (i) Democrat-safe states, (ii) Republican-safe states, and (iii) swing states. We then examine Romney's use of RQs in his 48 speeches in terms of their (i) frequency, (ii) question type, (iii) topic, and (iv) function. Our findings reveal that Romney tended to ask more RQs in the swing states and the Democrat-safe states in comparison to the Republican-safe states. Moreover, in the swing states, most of Romney's RQs were yes/no questions, which tended to be more direct, while in the Democrat-safe states, Romney used both yes/no and wh-questions, the latter type intended to induce doubt in the rival candidate. His more forceful yes/no rhetorical questions focused more on economic issues, while his more indirect wh-rhetorical questions focused more on political issues, a move seen as a safe strategy for highlighting his skill as a financial whiz while downplaying his lack of experience in national politics and foreign relations. This study elucidates how politicians use effective communication strategies to compete for votes in election campaigns.
ISSN: 1860-7330
EISSN: 1860-7349
DOI: 10.1515/text-2015-0018
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