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Civility in the 2018 U.S. Senate Debates

By June 18, 2020June 20th, 2020No Comments

In 2016, the NICD Research Team, in collaboration with NICD’s Revive Civility initiative, developed a project to measure civility in the 2016 presidential debates.  Early in the campaign season, NICD contacted a number of citizens, political leaders, and academics to ask about what sorts of debate behaviors they felt would constitute civil or uncivil behavior. NICD developed a civility checklist that could be used to measure the civility, or lack thereof, of the debates. NICD worked with undergraduate research assistants to use this checklist to measure instances of incivility in prior years’ presidential debates, in order to create a baseline for looking at the 2016 debates.  NICD then had audiences score the 2016 debates; the intention was to determine how the 2016 debates compared to prior years.  NICD issued a series of press releases in 2016 on the individual debates, and prepared a research paper on the 2016 race (see Chapter 9).

For 2018, NICD recruited political scientists in a number of different battleground Senate races to write short papers on civility in these states’ debates.  We hope to use this as a launching pad for working with the Commission on Presidential Debates and other interested groups to encourage civility in the 2020 campaign and beyond, and to measure how the 2020 debates compare to prior years.

Table of Contents

  1. Civility in the 2018 U.S. Senate Debates Robert G. Boatright, Clark University and National Institute for Civil Discourse
  2. Uncivil Soldiers and Social Workers? The “Treason” Debate in Arizona Suzanne Dovi and Julia Schimmel, University of Arizona
  3. Civility as Strategy meets “Minnesota Nice:” The 2018 Gubernatorial and Senate Debates in Minnesota Christopher Chapp and Douglas Casson, St. Olaf College
  4. Missouri’s 2018 U.S. Senate Debates David C. Kimball, University of Missouri
  5. “Senator Spineless” Debates a “Chicago” Democrat:  Incivility During the 2018 Nevada Senate Debate Jeremy Gelman, University of Nevada, Reno
  6. Civility in the 2018 Ohio Midterm Elections Jon Green, Emily Ann Israelson, Abigail Kielty, Jonathon Kingzette, and Michael Neblo, Ohio State University
  7. Watching the “Partisan Circus:” Civility in the Texas Senatorial Debates Emily Sydnor, Southwestern University
  8. Civility in the 2018 Wisconsin Debates for U.S. Senate Julia Azari, Marquette University
  9. Civility and Incivility in the 2016 Presidential Debates Robert G. Boatright, Clark University and Timothy J. Shaffer, Kansas State University

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