Spin (and Pitch) Doctors: Campaign Strategies in Televised Political Debates

Spin (and Pitch) Doctors: Campaign Strategies in Televised Political Debates Political campaigns frequently set low expectations (using a “low pitch”) in televised political debates to make the later claim that their candidates have done better than expected. The limited credibility of campaign aides, coupled with the fact that perception often confirms expectations, makes this strategy psychologically problematic. In Study 1, when no post-debate information was provided, lowering expectations for a candidate led to lower ratings of performance. In Study 2, when positive feedback (a post-debate “spin”) was provided after a low pitch, participants did rate performance positively, but only when the spin was supplied by a credible media source. The same strategy when used by campaign strategists adversely impacted candidates, leading to lower ratings of debate performance and network coverage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Spin (and Pitch) Doctors: Campaign Strategies in Televised Political Debates

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1023/B:POBE.0000043454.25971.6a
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Political campaigns frequently set low expectations (using a “low pitch”) in televised political debates to make the later claim that their candidates have done better than expected. The limited credibility of campaign aides, coupled with the fact that perception often confirms expectations, makes this strategy psychologically problematic. In Study 1, when no post-debate information was provided, lowering expectations for a candidate led to lower ratings of performance. In Study 2, when positive feedback (a post-debate “spin”) was provided after a low pitch, participants did rate performance positively, but only when the spin was supplied by a credible media source. The same strategy when used by campaign strategists adversely impacted candidates, leading to lower ratings of debate performance and network coverage.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 17, 2004

References

  • Beyond the running tally: partisan bias in political perceptions
    Bartels, L.M.

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