WUFT News

Local experts discuss importance of presidential debates

By on October 2nd, 2012

President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney will go head to head Wednesday night in the first presidential debate.

The debate will take place at the University of Denver.

The Kennedy-Nixon debates of the 1960s were the last debates to seriously impact election results, said University of Florida political science professor Stephen Craig.

“You can’t prove that an election would have turned out differently without whatever debate moments there were that year,” Craig said. “All you can do, really, is test for effects; get people to watch the debates and see if their attitudes changed as a result of that.”

The effect of presidential debates on election results is fairly small, he said. Large numbers of voters don’t change their opinion because of the debates.

Many people have already decided who to cast their ballots for, he said.

UF director of Forensics, Kellie Roberts, disagreed.

She said the Obama-Romney debates could be very influential on voters.

“In the past, these debates have not been that big of a deal,” she said. “People watch them mainly to kind of strengthen what they already believe, strengthen the vote that they already know they’re going to make.”

She said this election involves a significant amount of people who haven’t made up their minds yet.

Wednesday’s debate could make a difference for undecided voters, she said. Details like President Obama’s mannerisms might be enough to sway viewers to one candidate’s side.

Romney’s task is to put the president on the defense, she said.

Craig agreed that President Obama would be under a lot of scrutiny during the debates.

“The president’s going to have to defend himself and his record,” Craig said.

Katherine Hahn edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Politics

Sassyfrass, a male western cougar, yawns as she wakes up from her evening nap. Kept in a tiny backyard cage, his original owner beat him with a shovel, leaving him afraid of humans.

Big Cat Rescue Works To Pass Protection Act

One of the largest accredited wildlife sanctuaries, Big Cat Rescue, want to end private possession and breeding of big cats by November. To reach their goal, the sanctuary and a partnered coalition are pushing to get the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” passed.


Thousands Sign Initiative To Get Florida Marijuana On 2016 Ballot

United For Care has turned in about 100,000 out of 683,149 validated signatures needed to put the Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions bill on the 2016 ballot. So far, Marion, Levy and Alachua counties have not yet received any signatures, according to the supervisor of elections offices in these counties.


Feds Take Aim at Scott ‘LIP’ Lawsuit

Federal officials filed documents Monday responding to a lawsuit by Gov. Rick Scott. The suit says the federal government “engaged in unconstitutional coercion” to make Florida expand its Medicaid program, while federal officials say this is a baseless claim.


Florida Advances To Online Voting Registration

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that would implement an online voter registration system for Florida. The system is planned to be in place by 2017.


Lopez-Cantera ‘Strongly Considering’ Senate Bid

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera publicly confirmed Saturday that he is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2016. He announced his possible candidacy at the executive board meeting during the Republican Party of Florida’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments