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Debating Politics and Democracy

Democracy
Campaign
Social Media
P084
Vello Pettai
University of Tartu
Vello Pettai
University of Tartu
Open Section

Saturday 16:00 - 17:40 (09/09/2017)

Building: BL07 P.A. Munchs hus Floor: 1 Room: PAM SEM6

Abstract

Do presidential debates matter for the outcome of elections? Do they influence vote choice or have they simply become a new form of political entertainment with little electoral impact? How lasting are the effects, if any, of presidential debates? Given the lack of research, answers to these questions cannot be provided for young democracies, such as those of Central and Eastern Europe. The situation is different for mature democracies, where these questions have been studied since the first Kennedy - Nixon presidential debate. Although there have been instances where the presidential debates have impacted the outcome of the election the overall consensus is that presidential debates have a weak influence on vote choice. This is generally due to the importance of longer-term structural variables. On the other hand political campaigns are regarded as increasingly significant influences on election results. Yet, the important visual dimension of campaign communication is severely under-studied. Therefore, the role of strategic communications in explaining election results has gained utmost importance in recent years. The way an issue is presented can produce dramatic differences in public opinion. This is called a framing effect, and campaign framing matters. Political actors that are able to successfully ‘frame’ or ‘spin’ policy alternatives in a way that gets the public to debate an issue ‘on their terms’ tend to have more influence. In the light of these debates, this session will be analysing wide range of democracy and politics relations including political communication, media policies, presidential debates and Brexit. The session will further examine the influence of political rhetoric on public opinion by focusing on the upcoming British referendum on European Union (EU) membership.
Title Details
Do Presidential Debates Matter? Evidence from an Eastern European Context View Paper Details
Political Storytelling on Instagram – Key Aspects of Alexander Van der Bellen’s Successful 2016 Presidential Election Campaign View Paper Details
Examining the Evolving Understanding of Presidential Greatness View Paper Details