Political Communication

Since 1993 the Annenberg Public Policy Center has studied Americans’ political knowledge, discourse, media use and opinions about candidates and issues. Among our projects is the National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES). FactCheck.org researches the veracity of claims made by political candidates. The Annenberg Classroom and the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics offer an array of resources for educators and youth. Student Voices is a nationwide civic engagement initiative that encourages young people to become politically involved. The Institutions of American Democracy project examines the challenges facing the three branches of government, the press and the public schools and disseminates its findings to scholars and the public. The Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics (ISCAP) is home to a variety of interdisciplinary research programs in the social sciences and communication.

Presidential Debates: What’s Behind the Numbers?

Although audience data have tracked trends in presidential general election debate viewership over the years, they often fail to reveal how much and how many of the debates people actually watch — and why people do or do not watch the debates. Using multiple research methods, including Nielsen viewership data, a national survey, and focus groups, this white paper answers these questions.