Being Upbeat Works

In the 2004 Presidential campaign, an upbeat attitude has been an advantage. Shortly before the Iowa caucus vote, the Des Moines Register's surprise endorsement of Edwards cited his "positive, optimistic campaigns." This endorsement fits with research that an optimistic, upbeat attitude contributes to an individual's success.

CBS news reported 1/16/04: "Typically, Iowans dislike negative politics and the two candidates on the move this week, Kerry and Edwards, were the ones sticking to positive messages." Three days later, Kerry and Edwards were the top vote getters in Iowa, upsetting former front runner Dean.

The Washington Post reported the results:

Upbeat Message Proves To Be a Big Positive in Iowa

DES MOINES, Jan. 19 -- Sen. John Edwards, who conspicuously stood apart from the fray and refused to criticize his Democratic rivals, said Monday night that his strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses was evidence that "a positive, uplifting message to change America" will resonate in New Hampshire and beyond.

The senator from North Carolina, who had vowed to "shock the world" with his performance here, surged ahead of early front-runners Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri in the final two weeks of the campaign to finish behind Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts...

"I came here a year ago with a belief that we could change this country, with a belief that the politics of what was possible, the politics of hope, could overcome the politics of cynicism," Edwards said to a roomful of cheering supporters shortly after 9:30 p.m. Central time at a hotel in downtown Des Moines."

As recently as November, Edwards was polling in single digits in Iowa, but his fortunes changed just after New Year's Day, when he won the endorsement of the Des Moines Register, the state's largest newspaper. In the past week, the crowds at his campaign events grew larger and more enthusiastic, and campaign officials said their offices were flooded with phone calls from people wanting to help.

Edwards, 50, stuck to his basic campaign message, but the renewed energy surrounding his candidacy was obvious. On the stump, he smiled more widely, was more animated and encouraged his audiences to shout back when he asked them if they wanted change in Washington.

In interviews during the past week, most Iowans cited Edwards's optimistic message and praised him for refraining from joining in the internal fighting that dominated the large field of Democratic candidates.


Go to: Being upbeat is a key trait in individual social success

Go to: Research on Individual Success - SQ and ambition

Go to: USA is a happy, upbeat nation

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