Solution to question Dodging in political debate

Politicians are experts at what is called the dodge.


If a debate moderator asks a question on a topic, the candidate starts to answer as if they are going to address it.

They begin with a generality, for instance, 'there are so many problems facing America today'. But then they thwart the question by going off-topic. The viewer doesn't notice the shift between the question asked and the answer given. This occurs because viewers' limited attention spans focus on trying to assess if they like the candidate or not.

As viewers focus on the candidate's likeability factor, they don't notice the shift away from the question, even if they remember the question. And the candidate, who dodges the question, viewers find just as likeable as the candidate, who gives a direct answer. Moreover, viewers often think the dodger has actually answered the question asked.

Researchers explain politicians, who dodge a question, send a message that giving a truthful answer will cause them to be looked at in a negative light. What this means is dodged questions oftentimes are ones voters need answers to the most.

However, a solution exists for this problem: project the questions onto the screen in summary form. Tests have shown when this visual format is used, viewers notice even the cleverest dodges by a candidate. The practice of putting the question onto the screen as the candidate is answering is starting to take root at CNN. What needs to happen next is adoption of this practice by other networks, so viewers can receive substantive answers, rather than evasive ones.

Reply to this article

Read more: Election, Candidate, Election Tips, Debate, Presidential Debate, Election

« How to conduct a good Debate and win it | Main | Tips For Reporters Covering Election Night »

Return to Articles List

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

E-mail (required, will not be published)

Subject: Solution to question Dodging in political debate edit

» »

Our objective is to share with you news and information about Haiti and the people of Haiti. Traditions, habits and the way we were  or  grew are alive in this site. We highly recommend that you Subscribe to our Newsletter and also share with us some of the things that are memorable and made us unique people.