Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-5nwft Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T21:45:03.164Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

“Please Clap”: Applause, Laughter, and Booing during the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary Debates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2016

Patrick A. Stewart
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Austin D. Eubanks
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Jason Miller
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Abstract

The 2016 Republican Party presidential primary debates were unprecedented in the amount of media and public interest they generated. Substantially driven by curiosity about reality television celebrity Donald Trump, the initial debates hosted by FOX News and CNN both reflected and validated interest in his candidacy while proffering attention to a full slate of more traditional presidential contenders in front of boisterous audiences. This study considers these audiences’ response. Whether applause, laughter, booing, or combinations thereof, these group utterances provide a reliable metric by which insights may be derived concerning partisan attitudes towards Trump and the other candidates, as well as the unity of the Republican Party. Findings suggest that the debate setting in concert with the demographics of the in-person audience may well have influenced initial response to the candidates and as a result have subtle yet lingering consequences for the 2016 presidential election.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Atkinson, Maxwell. 1984. Our Masters’ Voices: The Language and Body-language of Politics. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
Benoit, William L., Hansen, Glenn J., and Verser, Rebecca M.. 2003. “A Meta-analysis of the Effects of Viewing US Presidential Debates. ” Communication Monographs 70 (4): 335–50.Google Scholar
Beres, Tom. 2015. “GOP Debate Tickets Spoken for, Application Process Ended.” July 28. WKYC News. http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/local/cleveland/2015/07/28/gop-debate-tickets-spoken-for-application-process-ended/30782225/.Google Scholar
Bull, Peter. 2003. The Microanalysis of Political Communication: Claptrap and Ambiguity. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
Bull, Peter and Miskinis, Karolis. 2015. “Whipping it up! An Analysis of Audience Responses to Political Rhetoric in Speeches from the 2012 American Presidential Elections.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 34 (5): 521–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clayman, Steven. E. 1992. “Caveat Orator: Audience Disaffiliation in the 1988 Presidential Debates.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 78 (1): 3360.Google Scholar
Clayman, Steven. E. 1993. “Booing: The Anatomy of a Disaffiliative Response.” American Sociological Review 51: 110–30.Google Scholar
de Moreas, Lisa. 2015. “CNN GOP Draws Nearly 23 Million Viewers.” September 17. Deadline Hollywood. http://deadline.com/2015/09/cnn-gop-debate-record-ratings-20-million-viewers-1201531579/.Google Scholar
Dezecache, Guillaume and Dunbar, R. I. M. 2012. “Sharing the Joke: The Size of Natural Laughter Groups.” Evolution and Human Behavior 33 (6): 775–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dowdle, Andrew, Limbocker, Scott, Yang, Song, Sebold, Karen, and Stewart, Patrick A.. 2013. The Invisible Hands of Political Parties in Presidential Elections: Party Activists and Political Aggregation from 2004 to 2012. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Fein, Steven, Goethals, George R., and Kugler, Mathew B.. 2007. “Social Influence on Political Judgments: The Case of Presidential Debates.” Political Psychology 28 (2): 165–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heritage, John and Greatbatch, David. 1986. “Generating Applause: A Study of Rhetoric and Response at Party Political Conferences.” American Journal of Sociology 92 (1): 110–57.Google Scholar
Pfau, Michael, Kendall, Kathleen E., Reichert, Tom, Hellweg, Susan A., Lee, Waipeng, Tusing, Kyle J., and Prosise, Theodore O.. 1997. “Influence of Communication During the Distant Phase of the 1996 Republican Presidential Primary Campaign.” Journal of Communication 47 (4): 626.Google Scholar
Smith, Eliot R., Seger, Charles R., and Mackie, Diane M.. 2007. “Can Emotions Be Truly Group Level? Evidence Regarding Four Conceptual Criteria.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93 (3): 431–46.Google Scholar
Steger, Wayne P., Dowdle, Andrew J., and Adkins, Randall E.. 2004. “The New Hampshire Effect In Presidential Nominations.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (3): 375–90.Google Scholar
Steinberg, Brian. 2015. “Fox News Primetime Republican Debate Snares 24 million Viewers.” August 7. Variety. http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/ratings-fox-news-republican-debate-1201559312/.Google Scholar
Stewart, Patrick A. 2011. “The Influence Of Self And Other-Deprecatory Humor On Presidential Candidate Evaluation During The 2008 Election.” Social Science Information 50 (2): 201–22.Google Scholar
Stewart, Patrick A. 2012. Debatable Humor: Laughing Matters On The 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
Stewart, Patrick A. 2015. “Polls And Elections: Do The Presidential Primary Debates Matter? Measuring Candidate Speaking Time And Audience Response During The 2012 Primaries.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 45 (2): 361–81.Google Scholar
Stith, Courtney. 2016. “Center For Politics Hosts U. Va. Alumni From ‘Face The Nation’: Panelists Speak On 2016 Presidential Election.” The Cavalier Daily. April 22. http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/04/center-for-politics-hosts-university-alumni-from-face-the-nation.Google Scholar
West, Darrell M. 1984. “Cheers And Jeers: Candidate Presentations And Audience Reactions In The 1980 Presidential Campaign.” American Politics Research 12 (1): 2350.Google Scholar
Yawn, Mike, Ellsworth, Kevin, Beatty, Bob, and Kahn, Kim F.. 1998. “How A Presidential Primary Debate Changed Attitudes Of Audience Members.” Political Behavior 20 (2): 155–81.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Stewart et al. supplementary material

Appendix 1

Download Stewart et al. supplementary material(File)
File 144.9 KB
Supplementary material: File

Stewart et al. supplementary material

Appendix 2

Download Stewart et al. supplementary material(File)
File 140.4 KB

A correction has been issued for this article: