Time Does Tell: An Analysis of Observable Audience Responses From the 2016 American Presidential Campaigns


  • Ewan J. K. Goode
  • Peter Bull


In this study a microanalysis of OAR (Observable Audience Responses) in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election was conducted. OAR were coded into dimensions including response rate (frequency per minute), response type, and categorised as either a unitary (a single response), composite (two or more simultaneous response types) or sequential (a unitary or composite response that is followed by a different response type) response form. It was found that U.S. audiences made use of all three response forms (unitary, composite, and sequential) and that certain response forms had been under-represented when contrasted with findings from previous research. This study was also the first to measure the duration of OAR in the context of an election, and it was observed that response form significantly affected the duration of response. It was inferred from this that the audiences might select different responses as a means to control the force of reply. This study failed to replicate previous research that had found a correlation between response rate (affiliative OAR per minute) and voter share on polling day, but instead found a stronger, significant correlation between the duration of OAR and voter share. It was interpreted that duration of OAR may be a superior indicator of wider voter enthusiasm as it captures the length of response as well as the incidence.