Influence of gender in electoral debates in Spain: Analysis of the social audience in #ElDebateDecisivo and #L6Neldebate

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Television debates during electoral campaigns constitute a central element within the political communication sphere. This research examines the digital conversation on Twitter on the broadcast of two television debates during the general elections campaign in Spain in April 2019: #ElDebateDecisivo of Atresmedia (among male presidential candidates) and #L6Neldebate of La Sexta (among female political candidates). The research provides a renovated perspective regarding the progressive feminisation of politics, establishing a correlation among key variables, such as the gender of the political leaders participating in the debates, the role of television as the main means during elections, and the influence of the public interaction on Twitter. Methodologically, the study pays attention to 313,343 impacts generated by 101,510 users or nodes. As pointed out in the conclusions, in the masculine debate (#ElDebateDecisivo) the active audience’s contribution to the public and political debate is defined in a more banal way, in contrast with the women’s debate ( #L6Neldebate), in which a more political consciousness is perceived.

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