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The “Public Image” of George Wallace in the 1968 Presidential Election

August 9, 2017


Year: 1969
Research Problem: The intention of this study is to examine the public image of George Wallace in the 1968 presidential campaign from its earliest inception to its general acceptance and at the same time, to determine if this image contributed to his defeat at the polls.


Research Questions:

1) What is the nature of “the image” in politics?

2) What is the role of “the
image” in politics?

3) How is “the image” created?


Method: The design of the study is two -fold. First, this paper seeks to develop a theoretical construct of guidelines to be used for examining political behaviour as determined by the attitudes and images the electorate has of the politician and the political process. This theoretical construct is applied to the case study of George Wallace and his public image in the 1968 presidential campaign.
The nature of “the image”, the role of “the image” in politics and how “the image” Is created is used to build the theoretical construct.


Results: In examining the public image of George Wallace as it was developed during the 1968 presidential year, three ideas were developed:

1) the past. Present and future personal image of Wallace,

2) the ideological dimension and public attitudes, and

3) the technological transmission of
Wallace’s image to the public.


Conclusion: George Wallace was “the wrong man” saying “the wrong thing” in the “wrong way”. He failed to understand modern media, presenting a “hot” evangelistic message over a “cool” medium. The press also caused a decline in his ideological and personal images because he fed them “hot” issues too soon, too fast which eventually tired the public of his campaign. He also chose to ignore the “New Politics”, and failed to secure experts to advise him of proper approaches. His image became a negative one.



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