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Rules, Strategies and Words: The Content of the 2010 Prime Ministerial Debates

Allen, N and Bara, J and Bartle, J (2013) 'Rules, Strategies and Words: The Content of the 2010 Prime Ministerial Debates.' Political Studies, 61 (SUPPL.). 155 - 176. ISSN 0032-3217

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Abstract

This article investigates the verbal content of the 2010 prime ministerial debates using computer-aided text analysis (CATA) and functional analysis. It seeks to provide reliable measures of what the leaders said, develop our theoretical understanding of televised debates in British elections, open up the 2010 debates for potential comparison with others, and provide additional evidence by which the democratic value of the debates might be assessed. The article demonstrates that the leaders focused more on policy than on personality, that most content was devoted to positive reasons for supporting parties rather than negative attacks on opponents, and that there was variation in the attention paid to general themes and specific issues and in the nature of the leaders' appeals to voters. The findings offer qualified support for issue ownership and functional theories, but knowledge of the specific political context remains necessary for understanding the content. © 2013 Political Studies Association.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2013 11:45
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2019 17:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6032

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