CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICESept. 22, 2016 ‘Most Likeable’ vote important during presidential debate

Sam Nelson, director of the Cornell University Speech and Debate Society and senior lecturer at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, explains why campaign teams will downplay audience expectations this week, and how the candidates will use subtle debate techniques to increase their ‘likability’ ratings among voters.


For more on Nelson’s debate tips watch this webcast.

Nelson says:

“The likeability factor – or the ‘dislikeability’ factor, this year – will have a huge influence on the mindsets of the voters.

“I expect that Clinton might call her rival ‘Mr. Trump’ to subtly emphasize he has never held an elected office.

“Trump might ask Clinton how she wants to be addressed, as many perceive him as being very rude, and this would help him combat the perception of rudeness.”

“Don’t be surprised if the candidates perform better than some predict. Campaign teams often engage in ‘performance spin-down’ before a debate to play down audience and pundit expectations, and to set the stage for post-debate defense.”