Who watches presidential debates? A comparative analysis of presidential debate viewing in 2000 and 2004

Kate Kenski, Natalie Jomini Stroud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Presidential debates are a main feature of present-day presidential campaigns. For voters, they are a source of political learning about candidate issue positions. Fluctuations in the level of debate viewership from election to election and, within an election, from debate to debate invite the following questions: What is the composition of debate audiences? In what ways did the audiences in 2004 differ from 2000? In what ways did the audiences change across debates in a given year? Results from the 2000 and 2004 National Annenberg Election Surveys show that debate audiences in 2004 were larger than in 2000. In both elections, the first debate garnered the most viewers. The data also show that those individuals inclined to watch a debate in its entirety tended to be older, be more educated, have higher incomes, and exhibit higher levels of partisan attachment than those who did not watch the debates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-228
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005

Keywords

  • Audiences
  • Elections
  • Presidential debates
  • Viewership
  • Voters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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