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Frank Luntz and the Republican Party

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 2, 2006
Latest Update: February 2, 2006

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Index of Topics on Site Communication: PBS Interview with Frank Luntz on Republican Politics

This essay is based on information from a PBS Interview with Frank Luntz.

"A corporate consultant, pollster and political consultant to Republicans, Luntz's specialty is testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate. In this interview, he explains what it takes to communicate a message effectively, shares some of the advice that he gives clients, and explains why his testing and field research seeks words that move people to act on an emotional level: "It's all emotion. [Emphasis added.] But there's nothing wrong with emotion. When we are in love, we are not rational; we are emotional. When we are on vacation, we are not rational; we are emotional. When we are happy, we are not [rational]. In fact, in more cases than not, when we are rational, we're actually unhappy. Emotion is good; passion is good. Being into what we're into, provided that it's a healthy pursuit, it's a good thing." This interview was conducted on Dec. 15, 2003."

From Introduction of Luntz on PBS Interview with Frank Luntz.

Some of the comments by Luntz in this interview emphasize the importance of emotion as the determinant of how we act. Lear says this in the Wolf Man section in which he explains that how we act is often not rational.

Luntz's comments:

. . .

"Politics is gut; commercials are gut. You're watching a great show on TV, you now come to that middle break, you decide in a matter of three seconds whether or not you're going to a) flip the channel; b) get up; or c) keep watching. It's not intellectual; it is gut."

"Is it the same for political decisions about power companies and politicians, though?"

"We decide based on how people look; we decide based on how people sound; we decide based on how people are dressed. We decide based on their passion. If I respond to you quietly, the viewer at home is going to have a different reaction than if I respond to you with emotion and with passion and I wave my arms around. Somebody like this is an intellectual; somebody like this is a freak. But that's how we make up our minds. Look, this is about the real-life decisions of real-life Americans, who to vote for, what to buy, what to agree with, what to think, how to act. This is the way it is."

From about three-fourths of an inch down the screen at PBS Interview with Frank Luntz.

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