4/4/2023 - Politics and Society

Coherence in post-campaign presidential political image

By Cesia Jemima

Coherence in post-campaign presidential political image

In a political image, it is said that the image of politicians has three dimensions: what the candidate really is, what he designs and what finally the public perceives, the result of comparing the politician with his ideal of ruler who obviously rises as mental representation built within himself. The gap between the second dimension and the third is proportional to the degree of support or discontent that citizens give to which they govern or at least try to govern.

According to NGO presidential image ranking 2022 Legislative Directory Pedro Castillo of Peru, Guilherme Lasso of Ecuador and Alberto Fernández of Argentina are the presidents with worst presidential image in Latin America. Gabriel Boric, the current president of Chile, is above 60% disapproval of public opinion, which lost 11 approval points in its first 10 months of government.

It is worth remembering that Pedro Castillo won the elections with 50.12% of the votes in the second round and Guilherme Lasso obtained 52.41%, while it was not necessary ballotage For Alberto Fernández who won first round with 48% of the votes in his favor. However, they were all losing the support of their fellow citizens by spending time. The political image of the Castle in 5 months collapsed 25%, that of Guilherme Lasso decreased 43% and that of Alberto Fernández 57% in 2 years, reaching a negative image of 74.5% in September 2022 according to a study by the consultant Giacobbe and Associates shared in the program Almost Patriots (LN+)) in September 2022.

With the citizen support that has placed them before the governments of their countries, one should ask what leads to political disapproval by the public opinion of the rulers who have been perceived as the best option to govern (for something they have been voted), so that after a while they have a low acceptance, especially in a short or medium term. Let us remember that most of them did not reach half the period of their government to be misunderstood by audiences.

The importance of coherence in the political image

I have only exposed an arist to analyze this phenomenon of public image-related disapproval, as other factors complement the analysis of governments that cannot meet citizen expectations, such as political fragmentation and polarization, political culture and post- pandemic international context. As a consultant in a political image I cannot but remember one of the principles of public image: consistency. This principle applied to politics tells us that people will seek that the stimuli sent by a ruler (appearance, speeches, non-verbal language, action, environmental image, among others) correspond with each other. Otherwise, you'll lose credibility.

It is inevitable to have an image and, in this case, the political image refers to the set of impressions or stimuli received from a politician, which gives way to how this is perceived by the citizens and that by passing time, it will become their reputation. Image is perception and incoherence will always send a negative message that will look at it. So, coherent is the one who adjusts what designs with his appearance, his actions, his ideas, his words and is able to sustain in time. Audiences do not forgive incoherence, for it causes them distrust. Distrust is a feeling that carves and breaks down any leadership.

The impact of lack of coherence

One of the mistakes in which several political candidates fall is that they approach working their image prior to the election period. There take relevance the consultants and advisers who build an image of the candidate to position, designing credibility and trust. However, it seems that after winning the elections they forget that this image should sustain itself over time because otherwise it will have a bad perception of it, attentive to the main goal: to remain in power. One is (or should be) what is, before, during and after the elections. The election campaign that emphasizes that I am the best option for my people never ends. A politician is always on campaign.

Citizens will seek coherence between campaign promises, political action and their person. They will consciously and unconsciously assess whether the message sent by the shift government is consistent. They must or withdraw their support. The image of a politician will come from the hand of how his performance is perceived when solving the demands and needs of the people. Today more than ever is the need for democracy to produce results. For this, the rulers are elected. Thus, before the high levels of presidential disapproval, a symptom of crisis of the channels of representation, the principle of coherence in the public image takes relevance and must be remembered to each politician in the times when they run.

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cesia jemima

Cesia Jemima

Hi, I'm Cesia Jemima, Lic. in Political Science from the Catholic University of Córdoba, graduated as a leading coach and image consultant. I have provided lectures and trainings for more than ten years as well as advising political candidates, leaders and institutions. Today, I am a member of AICI chapter Chile and through my brand Image Memorable I help people and institutions to impact and be remembered by their audiences.

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