ERIC Number: ED202062
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
A Verbal Analysis of the 1980 Houston Republican Presidential Primary Debate.
Hellweg, Susan A.; Phillips, Steven L.
A study of the 1980 debate between Republican presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and George Bush demonstrates what influence, if any, a debate has on the voting public. The unit of analysis used in the study was each single message presented by each candidate without interruption by the other candidate or the moderator. Two investigators made independent decisions in the coding process and then compared their markings. There was a total of 26 candidate messages for Reagan and 18 for Bush. Unequivocal messages, ambiguous messages, reasoning processes, and other rhetorical features were noted for each message. In terms of clarity and ambiguity, (1) both candidates incorporated a direct statement of policy in over 80% of their messages; (2) neither candidate used unequivocal rhetorical devices extensively; (3) both candidates talked frequently about the position of an opponent, used emotional appeals, and failed to develop effective transitions in some of their messages; and (4) Bush used unfamiliar jargon in about half of his messages and sometimes did not explain or develop his ideas. Overall, Reagan appeared to rely on numeral facts, Bush more on philosophical arguments. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A