This study investigated journalist-panelists' questions and candidates' corresponding answers in the televised presidential and vice presidential debates from 1976 to 1992. There were no trends for longer or more complex questions. Question length and complexity, however, were both positively associated with longer responses. Question complexity was also positively associated with the failure of candidates to answer all or component parts of the questions. These findings indicated that the journalist-panelists might be contributing to the verbosity of the debates and, possibly, permitting the candidates to evade difficult and embarrassing questions.
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