Presidential Election Campaigns

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  • Presidential Election Campaigns
    • Presidential Debates
      • How significant are the TV debates?
        • In at least 3 campaigns in recent times the debates have been important in changing the campaign
          • Reagan V Mondale where a journalist raised the question if Reagan's age might affect him but he replied with "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience" and this is said to have won him the election
          • 1980 Carter V Reagan where the many argue the debates swung in Reagan's favour because he was confident and his manner convinced many undecided voters
          • Obama V Romney where in the first debate Obama performed terribly and 72% of people who watched said that Romney won easily
            • These are exceptions and most debates don't have a big impact on opinion polls
              • Reagan V Mondale where a journalist raised the question if Reagan's age might affect him but he replied with "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience" and this is said to have won him the election
              • 1980 Carter V Reagan where the many argue the debates swung in Reagan's favour because he was confident and his manner convinced many undecided voters
        • Style not content
          • The first ever TV debate in 1960 Kennedy best Nixon simply because he looked young and handsome and Nixon looked shifty and unkempt
          • In 2012 it was Obama's manner and lack of energy which lost him the first debate and not what he said
        • Mistakes and gaffes
          • In a 1976 presidential debate Ford claimed that Poland was not ruled by the Soviet Union (it was)
          • In 2012 in the second debate Romney said he had gone to see women's groups in an attempt to get more women in his administration and that they had given him "whole binders full of women"
        • Sound Bites
          • In 2012 Obama said that Romney had "the foreign policy of the 1980s, the social policy of the 1950s and the exonomic policy of the 1920s"
        • Don't change anything
          • The candidates will be heavily briefed and trained by their advisors so the debates will be safe and bland and forgotten about
          • Most authors argue that the debates simply confirm what the voters preferences are and do not change them
            • Obama clearly lost the first debate but Democratic voters stuck to their convictions and 39% said that Obama had won
          • Even though Obama clearly lost his first debate he went on to win the presidential election in November
            • Obama won the next two debates so the first one was quickly forgotten about so it was not a game changer just a temporary blip
      • What are they?
        • Central feature of the campaign from the 60s
        • Fully covered in TV
        • Since the 90s there have been 3 debates each lasting 90 minutes plus a single debate between the VP candidates
        • They start approximately 5 weeks before the elections
          • In 2012 the first took place on October 3rd and they end with 2 weeks of campaigning left
        • They can be in any one of 3 formats
          • Stand behind podiums and are asked questions by a moderator or panel of journalists with an audience who do not participate
          • Sit on stools and facing an audience who put questions to them
          • A round table discussion between the candidates who are seated around a table with a moderator
            • All three were used in 2012
              • Stand behind podiums and are asked questions by a moderator or panel of journalists with an audience who do not participate
              • Sit on stools and facing an audience who put questions to them
    • The Role Of TV
      • Coverage on the TV news
        • Main terrestrial TV stations like NBC or CBS or ABC or cable channels like CNN which has 24 hour coverage
      • Serious political programmes
        • News Hour or Meet the Press - a serious or in depth analysis of the campaign
      • Political commercials
        • The parties and candidates can buy spots on commercial TV to broadcast their political commercials
          • First happened in 1952 when Dwight D Eisenhower launched the first 30 second commercial
        • Positive
          • Outlining the achievements and emphasising what they will do
            • In 2012 Obama's campaign focused on what he would do in a second term and not on his past record as President which would have beena vote loser
        • Negative
          • Attacking the opponent often in a personal way which started in the 60s
        • Sound Bites
          • Both candidates will make a tour of the USA or even visit abroad during the campaign
            • It is vitally important to make a good impression and any 'gaffes' will damage the candidate
              • In 2012 Romney made a whole series of gaffes
                • In August he cast doubt whether Britatin would be ready for the 2012 Olympics and also insulted the Prime Minister while in England
                • These gaffes and many more made it much easier for Obama to win
      • Chat shows
        • A less serious/ in depth show like Piers Morgan Tonight or the Oprah Winfrey Show
        • Or more serious shows which give in depth interviews to the candidates
  • Chat shows
    • A less serious/ in depth show like Piers Morgan Tonight or the Oprah Winfrey Show
    • Or more serious shows which give in depth interviews to the candidates

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