Publish at May 16 2022 Updated May 24 2022

What effect does a televised debate have on voters?

The American case

In 2022, France experienced a rather difficult presidential campaign. The two candidates in the second round had to submit to the exercise of the televised debate. A habit that is still not well established in French political life, however. However, across the Atlantic, the issue of televised debates between contenders for the U.S. presidency has existed for longer.

The classic episode is that between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. While the latter was favored to win the election in November, he performed poorly in the first debate. This would be the beginning of the reversal of fortunes for the Republican contender.

Since then, other televised debates have made history. Whether it's Reagan's humorous retorts or Trump's almost threatening tone, these appointments remain highly viewed by voters whether on private channels and, now, the Internet.

In fact, the digital network removes, in part, the obligation for candidates to have to go through the traditional media. Nevertheless, the issue of debate in elections remains important. In 2016 alone, 10% of viewers had said they made their decision based on this exercise.

Length: 15 minutes

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