Increased voter knowledge on issues, too, does not necessarily equal persuasion, and studies confirm the idea that the debates reinforce partisan positions, with partisans merely becoming more critical. Summary: While the number of households watching presidential and vice-presidential debates has grown substantially since , the proportion of participating households has dropped.
This white paper takes a close look at debate viewership, including why audiences watch debates, the changing demographics of viewership and alternate ways to measure viewership. Among the key takeaways from the report: Twenty-nine percent of people surveyed said that presidential debates were more helpful in helping them decide how to vote than news coverage of the campaign, political talk shows, campaign rallies, campaign advertising spots and watching broadcast interviews with the candidates.
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Political Communication , , Vol. By expanding the context of debate effects to post-debate citizen communication, this study moves beyond the direct and immediate impact of debate viewing and investigates indirect effects of debate viewing mediated by debate-induced citizen communication. Results from two-wave panel data collected before and after the presidential debates show that, as previous literature has suggested, debate viewing leads to partisan reinforcement and that these debate effects are in part mediated through post-debate political conversation.
These findings provide a new layer of complexity to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying debate effects. Communication Research Reports , , Vol. This report discusses why these findings were observed, and implications for candidate strategy and the study of media effects are discussed.
American Behavioral Scientist , , Vol. Results from the National Annenberg Election Survey show that the size of the vice presidential debate-viewing audience in exceeded the sizes of the presidential debate-viewing audiences, which is atypical from prior campaign seasons. The same general demographic and political characteristics that have driven political debate viewing in the past were operative during the presidential and vice presidential debate season, with debate viewing by Blacks being a notable exception.
Presidential debates and their effects: Research roundup - Journalist's Resource
Contrary to our predictions, females were not more likely than males to watch the vice presidential debate. Debate watching was significantly associated with the favorability ratings of the candidates on the Democratic ticket, but it was not associated with the ratings of the Republican nominees. In Experiment 3 participants saw what was supposedly the reaction of their fellow participants on screen during the debate. Participants in Experiment 4 were exposed to the reactions of live confederates as they watched the last debate of an active presidential campaign.
Findings: The researchers examine the results of an experiment performed on a random sample of undecided voters the night of the final United Kingdom election debate. One worm favored the incumbent, Gordon Brown, while the other favored Nick Clegg.
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The third debate participant, David Cameron, was favored by neither worm. Communication Studies , , Vol. American Behavioral Scientist, March , Vol. Going back to the Kennedy-Nixon debates in , image research has been conducted in most presidential election cycles.
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The results of the study confirmed trends from past research but also provided some surprises in that most changes in image perception were for senator Joe Biden, the longest-serving public official in the race. Southern Communication Journal , , Vol. This study examines the effect of post-debate analysis by two cable news networks on the perceived outcome of a presidential debate and the perceptions of the candidates, finding perceptions of the outcome differing between viewers of the two networks.
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Critical Political Studies: Debates and Dialogues from the Left
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