ERIC Number: ED204818
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-May
Reference Count: 0
A Visual Analysis of the 1980 Houston Republican Presidential Primary Debate.
Hellweg, Susan A.; Phillips, Steven L.
In partial replication of an analysis of the 1976 presidential campaign debates, two researchers analyzed the debate between Republican presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and George Bush (Houston, April 23, 1980) for its visual features, (amount and type of camera shots). The visual categories by which camera shots were coded included horizontal and vertical screen placement, image size, camera movement, vertical camera angle, compositional balance, vector orientation, eye contact of speaker with camera, use of gestures, and primary facial expression. A total of 167 camera shorts in 11 categories were coded. Generally speaking, the camera treatment appeared relatively even for the two candidates, with the single exception of total time exposure, where Reagan received five and one-half more minutes than Bush. Differences appeared, however, among the visual factors under the control of the two candidates, advantage of Bush. Reagan rocked back and forth frequently and did not always maintain good vertical alignment (thereby reducing audience perception of compositional balance). Bush, in contrast, employed gestures frequently to augment his verbal messages, was less tightly framed than Reagan, maintained consistent balance, and seemed to "talk" to all the members of at least his convention center audience. (RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Media Effects; Presidential Candidates; Presidential Debates
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Minneapolis, MN, May 21-25, 1981).