What Romney, Obama’s Body Language Says to Voters – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com

Gestures make the man.  Great NYT Interactive creature breaking down the candidates’ body language:

What Romney, Obama’s Body Language Says to Voters – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.


11 thoughts on “What Romney, Obama’s Body Language Says to Voters – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com”

  1. At first I had mixed feelings about the analysis and found it so humorous that I didn’t know whether I should take this analysis seruously or not. Thinking twice, they sure can affect the mass public. During the Nixon-Kennedy debate, those who listened to the debte through a radio station, in fact, thought Nixon was prevailing at the debate. This tells us that a general aura and tone of speech with the right gesture can convince audience even though the logical strength of the message can be relatively weaker. Perhaps a lesson we should learn from this is that we should listen to the debate with more caution so that we will be able to judge the debated arguments with more objectivity.

  2. These two phenomenal speakers can teach public speakers and MUN students a lot about the effectiveness non verbal gestures when addressing an audience. I do not know which I favor more, Obama’s clear and direct style of gesture or Romney’s open, more amiable style. But I can see why both candidates appeal to voters when they speak. As I watched the Presidential Debate last Wednesday, I remember sitting there speaking to the TV encouraging both Romney and Obama to look at the camera, engage the other candidate, and act as if they were addressing the people. What I just realized is that I was yearning for a connection with both, a connection that would be expressed by motions and gestures that proved as much. Non verbal mannerism are vital to remember when attempting to relate to audience when presenting a platform.

  3. While we were watching this debate on Wednesday, my roommates and I also noticed the difference in Romney’s and Obama’s body language when the other candidate was speaking. Romney seemed to be more engaged, looking over at Obama, seemingly taking notes, and occasionally looking down. Obama seemed to spend a lot of the time Romney was talking looking down at the podium. This contributed to the feeling that Obama was not as present and engaged in the debate. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the debates between Obama and Romney go, especially the town hall one on the 16th. If Romney does as well then as he did last week, it could make this a much closer race.


  4. Up to this point I have not had much sympathy for Mr. Romney. Watching Romney during the primaries, I was often disappointed by the positions that he took on economic and social issues. You can imagine my despair when Romney choose a leader of the Tea Party as his vice-Presidential pick. However, watching Romney during the most recent debate, I often found myself agreeing with what he was saying. This was not the far-right Romney of the primaries that I was listening to; rather, this was a moderate and reasonable Romney that I could agree with.

    Now, is this is the real Romney; the kind of Romney that would support and promote reasonable government policies if elected President? Or is this just another shade of a candidate that has been described as a political chameleon? I don’t know.

  5. The debate was intriguing to watch. I’m a political science major and I was watching the debate with my roommates who claim that they generally avoid politics. One of my roommates commented that Obama was not maintaining eye contact with Romney, but was looking down at the podium or off to the side. I’m not an expert, but I feel like it is professional and polite to look at someone when they are speaking.

    One website link I was able to find commented that Obama “looked down too often, had lip compression, and had a clenched jaw. The link also pointed out that Romney had a shoulder bounce and a default smile.

    Body language during a speech is crucial because it is a non-verbal communication. Body language is a universal way that we can understand and interpret people no matter our career, educational background, region of origin, or field of study.


  6. Both these men are excellent public speakers. What I learned from this is that one of the keys to good public speaking is body language. I did not realize how important and influential body language and hand movements, it really changes the tone of the speech. Watching the debate last week, the tone of both debates were different and you could tell by body language who was a more powerful speaker.

  7. Growing up, my source of politics has been via reading or listening, not watching, so when I was watching the debates I did hardly any watching, but rather listening; as a result, body language meant nothing to me. So i suppose it is out of ignorance that I am blown away by that fact that body language should ever matter. A study by UCLA says that body language is 93% of communication. So I must be an odd ball because it doesn’t really make a difference to me. For me its all about the words. Looking at the debates as far as words are concerned, there was no contest, it was all Mitt it was like he was the only one who had anything to say that night.


  8. Honestly, it is hard to be objective in this. If I was an undecided voter I am sure I would have a clearer view but as someone who was employed with the Obama campaign, I admit I can be fairly bias. Yet, it is a two way street, those who are strong with Romney are going to see the best in him and also be bias. For those of us who know who we are voting for, we see what we want in the body language. Several people here says that Romney won the body language, evening sighting his how engaged he was when Obama spoke. However, I didn’t feel that way. It looked like Romney was trying to hard to look likeable and had a smirk, which to me made him seem more detached. I asked my Romney supporting room mate and he did agree that Romney’s smirk was creepy him out. I will say that I felt Obama looked down too much, but on the other, the debates are half speaking to the audience and half speaking to the opponent. In that situation, it may be easier to listen by looking down. One thing that did really frustrate me was Obama droned on a few times. When he gets nervous, he doesn’t show it physically, such as Romney does, yet Obama keeps speaking and looses attention. While the article showed much of their good gestures I thought I would post this that shows some of their negative gestures.

  9. This is fascinating, but I really wonder how much credit or influence you can attribute to the difference in these subtle movements. If there were more extremes in them, then it would be easy to suggest that they make a difference. For example, the volatile gestures and unnatural gestures made by the individual that we watched in class. I’m not sure if the gestures matter as much as the overall body language. Obama looked down too much and could not hold the gaze of Romney. Obama also looked tired. I think these factors play a bigger role than the slight hand gesture differences between the two.


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