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 has been 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.

Learning From the 2016 U.S. General Election Presidential Debates

This article draws on panel survey data gathered from viewers of the first and third 2016 general election presidential debates to document across time changes in knowledge of issue positions, beliefs about candidate qualifications and character, and perceptions that, if elected, a candidate would or would not pose a threat to the well-being of the nation. The authors find that viewers of postdebate coverage of the 2016 general election debates exhibited increased knowledge, but viewing the debates or the postdebate coverage had little effect on assessment of either candidate qualifications or perceptions of whether candidates would threaten the nation’s well-being, if elected.