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Hannelore Kraft and Armin Laschet Square Off for TV Debate

Wanted: Evaluators to assess televised debate live ahead of state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia

Freiburg, Apr 24, 2017

Hannelore Kraft and Armin Laschet Square Off for TV Debate

Credit: Debat-O-Meter/University of Freiburg

Who will emerge the convincing candidate: State Premier Hannelore Kraft of the Social Democrats (SPD) or challenger Armin Laschet of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)? Which of the two contenders is more credible? Who seems more competent? Voters in North Rhine-Westphalia will for the first time have an opportunity to express their opinion of the two leading candidates and their arguments, live, during a televised debate. Researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed the web app "debat-o-meter." It allows viewers of the debate to evaluate the contest as it unfolds.

There are two events to be assessed: The researchers in Freiburg are seeking people to evaluate live the debate between the leading candidates on 2 May 2017 and a second showdown between all the top candidates on 4 May 2017. All the viewers need to take part is a smartphone or another type of terminal, such as a tablet or computer. Joining in the study is anonymous and no installation of software is necessary. Online surveys will be administered before and after the actual assessment.

The broadcaster WDR Television will air the showdown between the incumbent Hannelore Kraft and her rival Armin Laschet on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, at 8:15 p.m. WDR will broadcast the second debate featuring all the parties on 4 May 2017, at 8:15 p.m. Those who take part in the evaluation will receive the survey results afterwards.

Televised debates between rival candidates are the main media event of every election campaign. In front of audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, the politicians can take up positions, exchange arguments and attempt to convince the voters of their viewpoints. The televised discussion offers viewers an opportunity to compare directly the politicians and their policies. The Freiburg research team is using participants' assessments to improve their ability to evaluate political trends and the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. The results of the evaluation will be published  as well.

Registration and information

Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal
Department of Political Science
University of Freiburg