Judging the debate, not the debaters

Judging the debate, not the debaters

: Andrew Tyndall of the Tyndall Report — which tracks TV news — ran a survey of 2,800 volunteers (for MediaChannel.org) scoring media‘s performance in last night’s debate. Andrew sent along the results:

The decision to devote so many questions to the War in Iraq was the biggest controversy arising from the first Presidential Debate of Campaign 2004 in Miami last night. A majority of supporters of John Kerry agreed that Iraq was given the appropriate amount of attention. A minority of George Bush’s supporters called the Iraq emphasis “just right.” Most of those who disagreed said Iraq was overemphasized….

Kerry supporters in the Citizens Scorecard panel were more positive about the debate than Bush supporters: more rated it helpful in learning about their own candidate’s stance on issues (77% v 62% for Bush supporters); and about their opponent’s stance (23% v 16%); more said it helped them decide how to cast their vote (37% v 20%); and more said their man won (96% v 70%)….

The scorecard asked whether sufficient time was devoted to seven specific issue areas. Nuclear/WMD Proliferation received the highest rating as the issue which was examined “just right”….

Both groups of supporters rated the treatment of their own candidate’s personal attributes as appropriate. The debate received high marks for spending “just right” attention on such factors credibility, decisiveness and integrity in the candidate each group supported. Both groups complained that these same attributes were glossed over when it came to questioning the man they opposed….

Moderator Lehrer received high marks for fairness. More than 80% of both groups of supporters felt he showed no favoritism to either candidate. More Kerry supporters thought his question selection was “extremely” relevant than Bush supporters did (55% v 44%), a rating which jibes with their reactions to the amount of attention paid to Iraq. Lehrer was well rated for being “extremely” plainspoken (62% by Kerry supporters, 53% by Bush’s), low rated for being “extremely” imaginative (16% and 15%).

One more interesting statoid:

Fully 47% of the Bush supporters reported that they watched the debate on Fox News Channel. No channel attracted more than a quarter of Kerry supporters.

Just as a business decision, that says CNN should throw in the towel and come out tomorrow calling itself the liberal channel and its ratings would soar.