The candidates’ message: I might be so-so, but the other guy is terrible

The Washington Post:

Four stories are at the heart of any campaign. If you understand them, you know who controls the message — and with it, perhaps the election. These stories make up what campaign strategists call the “message grid,” which has four quadrants. The first two comprise the positive stories the candidates are telling about themselves; the other two feature the negative stories each candidate is telling about the other.

In some elections, one quadrant of the grid dominates the conversation — for example, when the economy or a candidate is particularly strong or weak. Campaigns jostle for position on the grid, trying to emphasize the stories they prefer and to alter elements of the stories their opponents are effectively telling. In 2008, the stars were aligned for a new and exciting candidate to tell a story about hope and change after eight years of fear and loathing, skillfully turning his “different-ness” into an asset.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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