The Joint Press Conference: The History, Impact, and Prospects of American Presidential Debates

Synopsis

The reinterpretations of social science findings presented in this first comprehensive analysis of the issues of presidential debate effects on voting behavior strongly suggest that early reports of the electoral triviality of the debates were premature. Lanoue and Schrott study the largely ignored area of the content of presidential debates, emphasize the importance of reinforcement as an electorally significant phenomenon, and propose a model of debate effects that takes into consideration both direct and indirect paths between debate watching and attitude change.