The Effects of HDTV on Perceptions of Obama and Mccain in a 2008 Presidential Debate

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As high-definition television (HDTV) becomes more prevalent, it may affect how people perceive politicians. This study experimentally tests the effects of HD on people's perceptions of John McCain and Barack Obama during their second presidential debate, hypothesizing that the HD format will hurt McCain. Consistent with the authors' expectations, it was found that the HD format negatively influenced global evaluations toward McCain. In addition, HDTV viewers free-listed more negative responses to McCain, including several pertaining to his age. This report discusses why these findings were observed, and implications for candidate strategy and the study of media effects are discussed. © 2012 Copyright Eastern Communication Association.

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