On television you can monitor the ratings of the programs almost in real time, something that will happen this Sunday the 8th with the second presidential debate that will take place at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires. But is it possible to record the impact on voters of candidates’ interventions while they speak? The answer is yes and he will do it UBA Pulsar Observatory that, this Sunday, will carry out a study to measure in real time how the presentations, replicas and responses of the five applicants to the Casa Rosada are received in different focus group specially selected, the impact on your votersand How could you change your voting intention? in the general elections of October 22 based on them.
Pulsar is a research center made up of professionals from Economic Sciences and Political Sciences from that University specialized in public opinion. He had already done this same study for the first time in 2019 – then unprecedented in the country – and will do the measurement in this second meeting starring Javier Milei (Freedom Advances), Patricia Bullrich (Together for Change), Sergio Massa (Union for the Homeland), Juan Schiaretti (We do for Our Country) and Myriam Bregman (Left Front and Workers-Unity).
He will repeat it in case there is a third debate facing a probable runoff. In Argentina there is no analysis of this type on the impact of the debates, unlike other countries in the region with a tradition of political meetings of this type – the paradigm is the United States – where these measurements are carried out.
The study will include an application that is downloaded to a tablet or cell phone and that will allow those invited to participate in that experience. record your emotions and perceptions about the interventions of each candidate as the presidential debate unfolds.
This instant response technology It allows you to analyze, second by second, the reaction of voters to the presentation of the candidates to evaluate, quantitatively and in real time, which words or phrases they respond to negatively or positively, or generate greater interest or disapproval. As? By sliding your finger up or down on the screen. “The objective is to evaluate, quantitatively, the different sections of the debate in real time and, at the same time, qualitatively, to have an in-depth look at the reasons and meanings that explain these reactions,” he explained. Augusto Reina, political scientist and one of the two directors of Pulsar along with Daniela Barbierito Infobae.
The sample was formed to be representative and will be made up of 110 people, segmented by political and sociodemographic preferences. They belong to three age groups and three different socioeconomic levels, coming from the AMBA, divided into groups of 10, half men and half women. Thirty were voters in the PASO of Together for Change30 of Freedom Advances30 of Union for the Homeland, for being the three political forces that predominated in the result of the PASO. In addition, there will be another group of 20 people who abstained from going to the polls in the Primaries or have not decided on their vote. “We added those who went to vote for us and it will be interesting to see how the debate impacts them and the undecided,” Reina said.
Participants will meet in closed and separate rooms in the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the UBA, with a live broadcast to watch the second presidential debate and react through the application to what they are seeing.
Each research participant will receive a device with the app to carry out your personal evaluation in real time. The application consists of a slider continuous from top to bottom with visual references that facilitate understanding. The starting axis of the application begins at a midpoint “0″. If the voter likes what candidate “A” is saying, the voter will move the bar on his screen up, if he dislikes it, he will move it down. Thus, each of the participants will provide information, second by second, about how they evaluate the candidates’ performance.
The app was developed by Pulsar to be able to instantly capture information that is later structured, processed and analyzed by its research teams. The system captures each response in real time, along with the demographic information of each participant. During the presentation, a line graph is continuously displayed on a monitor that will be in another area, out of reach of the participants. Audience reactions are collected second by second, which will allow analysts to determine exactly which words, phrases or concepts improve or worsen the candidate’s communication effort, and which have the greatest impact on the audience, based on what they record in the app.
The study will make it possible to identify the phrases with the greatest and least impact of each candidate, and to prepare the line graph that they informally call “the little viper”. “It is a second-by-second time series of the debate that marks the candidates’ highest and lowest points. We look, actually, they are those approval and disapproval peaks to understand what perceptions are generated by the candidates’ interventions,” Reina said.
But The study not only uses quantitative techniques, but also qualitative ones. Once the debate is over, each focus group You will remain in your room and a session will begin in which the participants will explain the reasons for their reactions, some scenes from the debate will be repeated, and the analysts will ask them some questions to have a broader look at their reactions in the debate.
The result of this post-debate discussion will help analysts identify the sections, messages and stimuli that had the greatest impact on the audience and, evaluate the performance of the candidates’ political speech in the presidential debate.
In addition to recording and analyzing the reactions of the focus group During the presentation of the candidates, the Pulsar Observatory will measure the impact of the debate also in the medium term. For this, Pulsar will do a survey before entering to watch the debate, another when leaving and a third a few days later, to see if there was a change in voting intention after the debate.
“There is a fairly widespread theory that debates reinforce voters’ pre-existing positions, rather than changing voting intentions. That’s why we want to see what the effect is, and since as the days go by, the impact cools, we ask them again a few days later,” Reina warned.
For this debate expert, “there is a results-oriented vision according to which debates are evaluated based on whether they are useful or not, if they produce electoral impact. It is the point of view, generally, of the political forces. There is another vision that takes into account whether the debates increase the information that citizens have about the candidates and their proposals.” And in that sense, it stands out that for the candidates from the smaller forces, an event like last Sunday’s, which had an aggregate rating of all channels that exceeded 40 points, allows them to have a much higher level of visibility and knowledge. , which they would not have otherwise. That is why the Pulsar study will also include a measurement of the level of knowledge, image of the candidates, and post-debate voting intention.