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

Florida Inches Closer to Other States in Tuition Charged Undocumented Students

Florida may soon offer undocumented students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, joining the ranks of 20 other states with similar tuition equity laws and policies.


Sheila Bryant, left, and Billie Jean Curtis, right, stand on the grounds of Curtis Recycling in Hampton in November. Curtis found a letter signed by someone claiming to be Mayor Barry Moore in the yard of her recycling company.

Update: City of Hampton Under Criminal Investigation

Elise Giordano / WUFT News Sheila Bryant, left, and Billie Jean Curtis, right, stand on the grounds of Curtis Recycling in Hampton in November. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Jacksonville office is conducting a criminal investigation on the city [...]


Bullets

Unlicensed Concealing of Weapons During Emergencies Bill Passes House

The bill passed in the house with a vote of 80-36 Friday afternoon.


Helen Warren and her campaign team celebrate her win for Gainesville City Commission At-large Seat 2. Warren viewed the results at the Alachua County supervisor of elections office on Tuesday night.

Helen Warren Defeats Annie Orlando In Run-Off Race

Helen Warren wins Gainesville City Commission At-large Seat 2 in run-off election against Annie Orlando on Tuesday night.


Helen Warren (left) debates issues facing the Gainesville community with commission-opponent Annie Orlando (right) at a forum on Thursday.

Gainesville City Commission Run-off Candidates Talk Issues at Forum

The Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Sun and WUFT sponsored a debate between the two candidates in the April 8 run-off election for the at-large candidate for Gainesville city council.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments