White Papers and Issue Briefs

White papers are the product of original research by scholars at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and examine public policy questions in areas of importance. Issue briefs are short takes that summarize existing work in areas of ongoing study and questions worthy of examination.

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.