Pre- and post-debate polls are so twentieth century. In our instant-reaction, smart-phone era, the newest trend is for pocket-sized software that instantly records viewers’ reactions as they’re watching the debate. It’s real-time data, and it’s being beta-tested at the University of Maryland-College Park.
UM linguistics and computer science professor Philip Resnik helped develop the technology that powers the smart phone app, which is being tested in universities across the country. More than 3,700 students tested the app during last week’s presidential debate, recording their reactions to the candidates’ statements. The app allows users to either agree or disagree with a candidate’s statements, but it also allows them to note when they feel as though a candidate is fudging the truth, either by relying on spin, or dodging a question.
In its beta-test at UM, a generally left-leaning school, President Obama saw large spikes in “agree” reactions when he talked about reducing the cost of education.
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