Semantic networks and competition: Election year winners and losers in U.S. televised presidential debates, 1960-2004

Marya L. Doerfel, Stacey L. Connaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on network theory, this study considers the content of U.S. presidential debates and how candidates' language differentiates them. Semantic network analyses of all U.S. presidential debates (1960-2004) were conducted. Results reveal that regardless of party affiliation, election winners were more central in their semantic networks than losers. Although the study does not argue causation between debating and electoral outcomes, results show a consistent pattern: Candidates who develop coherent, central, semantically structured messages in debates seem to be victorious on election day. An argument is made for employing semantic networks in studying debates and political discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Semantic networks and competition: Election year winners and losers in U.S. televised presidential debates, 1960-2004'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this