Abstract:
Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to analyze how political marketing management in terms of communication practices influence the voters’ emotional responses as they observe and listen to the discourse of a political leader.

Design/methodology/approach
An experiment was conducted, in which participants watched the last debate of the campaign leading up the Peruvian presidential elections held in June 2016. During the experiment, the Emotient FACET technology codifies the facial micro-expressions of participants.

Findings
The results reveal that a voter’s political tendencies influence the intensity of their positive emotions, when the political leader communicated a challenging message. Rhetorical strategies and non-verbal behaviors accompany this type of message in order to emphasize the discourse and persuade the audience.

Practical implications
The findings suggest that the gender gap in attitudes toward female politicians exists and could change the relationship found, influencing negative emotions instead of positive emotions. The implications of the findings for achieving political success are discussed.

Originality/value
The study makes a methodological contribution, employing an experimental protocol based on Emotient FACET technology in a political context, thereby enabling more direct and objective measurement of voters’ emotional responses.