The use of emotions in political campaigns is known and well documented. From its earliest days in the Roman Empire or later in Crusader times to its extensive use by the Nazi regime, political propaganda attempted to seduce and convince, attract and influence targeted publics by appealing to their emotions. Appeals to fear, hope, pride, anger, and anxiety are frequent in modern campaigns too. Yet no attempts appear to have been made to develop a methodological tool for the objective and systematic identification of the use of such appeals. This research is based on the design, testing, and validation of a research instrument intended to measure quantitatively and comparatively the use of emotional appeals in two Israeli election campaigns (1996 and 1999). It also reports findings from an application of the new measure to test specific hypotheses on the use of emotional appeals across campaigns and parties.

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