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Political Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 289–306 | Cite as

The effects of primary season debates on public opinion

  • David J. Lanoue
  • Peter R. Schroff
Article

Abstract

This paper concerns the effects of primary season presidential debates on public opinion. Using a quasi-experimental design, we investigate one of the Democratic debates conducted during the 1988 campaign. We attempt to link the actual statements of the candidates with the reactions of our subjects. We find that viewers' opinions of the candidates changed dramatically after watching the debate, and that these changes are related to subjects' assessments of the candidates' images and debating “styles” (rather than their presentations of substantive issue positions). We speculate on some of the reasons for our findings, and discuss the differences between primary season and general election debates.

Keywords

Actual Statement General Election Public Opinion Substantive Issue Political Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Lanoue
    • 1
  • Peter R. Schroff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaRiverside
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationsFree University of BerlinUSA

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