Study of Why Political Candidates Make Vague Statements - (Berkeley, CA) $216,884

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has  provided $216,884 in funding to the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University to study "Candidate Ambiguity and Voter Choice." The researchers will review transcripts of all presidential debates since 1960 and ask whether "candidates avoid or limit their ambiguity in circumstances when our experiments suggest that ambiguity would be harmful? Do candidates use ambiguity differently in primaries than in general elections?....And do candidates call attention to ambiguity when our experiments show that it could be advantageous?" The researchers will also review if "candidates can gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions."
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( Photo by David McNew/Getty Images )

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided $216,884 in funding to the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University to study "Candidate Ambiguity and Voter Choice." The researchers will review transcripts of all presidential debates since 1960 and ask whether "candidates avoid or limit their ambiguity in circumstances when our experiments suggest that ambiguity would be harmful? Do candidates use ambiguity differently in primaries than in general elections?....And do candidates call attention to ambiguity when our experiments show that it could be advantageous?" The researchers will also review if "candidates can gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions."

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