Skip to comments.Are the debates going to matter?
Posted on 09/30/2012 5:12:25 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
A continuing theme I've been hearing on the political gabfests on cable news this week is that not only are the current polling numbers sketchy at best, they don’t really matter all that much because... wait until the debates! That seems to be the expected pivot point in the home stretch of the race, and analysts from both sides are playing the expectations game and declaring how vital it will be for Romney to "make his mark" or for Obama to "avoid a game changing slip-up." But assuming that one of them doesn't come out at the podium and announce that they are either a serial killer or that they've discovered a cure for cancer, (with proof) will the debates really move the needle for either of them?
Miranda Green thinks not.
A 2008 Gallup study found that between 1960 and 2004, there were only two years where debates made a difference in actual votes. Instead, the most common outcome of the presidential debates is a slight popularity bump. But that bump doesnt necessarily translate into votes.
They sometimes have a short-term effect, a bounce in response to the debates, but at the end of the day there often is not much of an effect, says Robert Erikson, author of The Timeline of Presidential Elections.
Data from the Gallup study also saw no direct correlation between the winner of each debate and the winner of the presidency. The 2004 Kerry vs. Bush debate was cited as an example. Kerry was considered the victor of all three showdowns, but still lost the election.
Not to read too much into Ms. Green’s personal preferences here, but it seems to me that those who feel their preferred candidate is ahead (rightly or wrongly) might be more inclined to think the debates won’t matter. But even with that said, it seems to me as if there is still a strong possibility that these shows may not produce much in the way of heat. If the candidates have been coached to play it too safe to avoid any potential damage, we may be treated to nothing more than stilted reruns of portions of their stump speeches in response to questions.
But if either of them – perhaps more likely for Romney – feel like they need a breakout moment, they might take a more aggressive tack. There are already rumors flying about Mitt preparing some “zingers” for the President, leading to much amusement on Twitter over the weekend. That can go two ways, of course. If the delivery is off or it’s perceived as more mean than funny, off the mark, etc. then it could turn into a campaign advertisement which won’t help matters at all. But if he delivers something that comes off along the lines of, “I knew Jack Kennedy, and you, Senator, are no Jack Kennedy” then I still think the debates could light a fire at just the right time.
Will anyone be watching? This chart shows how TV audiences generally declined by media share for a quarter of a century after hitting a high water mark for Reagan vs Carter. But that trend turned around in 2008 with significant increases in viewership for Obama vs McCain, and the Republican primary debates scored well above expected levels. I continue to maintain my belief that summer numbers reflect mostly the “preaching to the choir” crowds, and there will always be a significant number of people who don’t watch news channels 24/7 and are yet open to seeing something unexpected which changes or makes up their mind in the final weeks.
The debate will matter for Romney. He has the most to gain.
Tonight I happened to turn on Huckabee, He and some guy were discussing how Romney should act in the debate.
They were saying how does Romney handle it and show respect for the office of the president.
Oh geez, why should he go overboard respecting a lyin’ communist?
If Obama does very poorly and makes numerous mistakes, it will become an issue and it may get beyond the MSM’s ability to cover for him. President Ford stating that Poland was not dominated by the Soviets really hurt him in the close 1976 election. Obama does tend to make mistakes even when given softballs without the teleprompter.
Oh, most importantly: In four years, the idiot "Republicans" on the Presidential Debate Commission will continue to allow liberals to ask, omit, moderate, and spin the questions, and conservatives will play no role. And the Republican candidate will still show up to take a beating.
If we had another candidate...Newt, Michele Bachmann or some other Conservative with backbone and confidence in themselves and a love for our country and serious about winning I’d say YES..
The differences would be obvious..and the debater would be a joy to behold as Obama got slugged repeatedly..
But we’re stuck with Willard with his fixed smile and his fear of normal people and his entitlement and his betterthanyouness and his lifelong Liberalism...
and the similarities are too glaringly out there to be any good for our side...
Will Willard buy some male gumption and take on Obama ???
Well he cant in the social issues ...abortion, same sex marriage, gays in the military..
and he cant for global warming, illegal aliens and AMNESTY, cap N trade, 2A, military, Iran..
He may be able to fake Israel, until he blows it...
and he may be able to blow smoke about his background in business, until he gets exposed in some asrteas...
So whats left ???
Oh he looks just like his Daddy, Big George, so “presidential” ...and about as old...
Yes he could probably wing it on his faded aged matinee idol “looks” bvut thats about it...
I’ll watch the debate Wednesday night but I expect Nixon to rise from his grave and slap Willard for being worse than he was in 1960...
Only for those you actually watch them. For those relying on the msm for the results will get a very skewed report in Obama’s favor.
If anyone is undecided in this weird parallel universe, they will probably miss election day because they are at the movies or a club...drinking or snorting.
The terminally stupid "Free Obamaphone" types will be watching Dancing with the Chefs or something anyway, so the MSM reporting that nobody saw the debates can be safely ignored - the interested, and persuadable, will tune in.
Here is how the debate can turn out well for Romney no matter what.
Every freeper and his/her like minded friends should, immediately after the debate, donate a minimum of $5 to Romney. I haven’t even donated to Romney yet a all because I wasn’t a fan. But I don’t want him to beat Obama, I NEED him to beat Obama.
If everyone skipped a latte, a lunch, a gallon of gas (walk to the store once), or if they can, donate more, we could show that Romney turned things around even if Romney sat there on his hands the whole time. For the Romney camp to be able to say that a million rolled in after the debate would be HUGE. Even HUGH.
It is the only way to counteract the media spin. They can talk til their cheeks ache about how Romney didn’t deliver, but if all of us on the right donate, it will be seen as a Romney win.
A debate panel of liberal media hacks throwing all the crap they can at Romney and lobbing softballs to Obama ... yeah this will liven things up!
All that jazz, Jazz, ain’t gonna matter!
RE: I expect Nixon to rise from his grave and slap Willard for being worse than he was in 1960...
Nixon actually defeated Kennedy on SUBSTANCE. Kennedy won on STYLE.
Most of those who heard the debate on the radio decided that Nixon won the debate. However, those who watched the debate on TV were impressed with Kennedy’s youth and vibrance (in other words, he was TELEGENIC, while Nixon looked sweaty throughout ).
In the end, the elections were very close and Chicago decided the victory ( for Kennedy of course, courtesy of the Daley machine ).
Many told Nixon to sue to contest the fraud on Chicago but he did not. Otherwise, Nixon would have been President 8 years earlier ( and maybe assassinated instead of JFK ).
Mind, this isn't when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, but the 2008 Republican Presidential Debates.
Yeah, the debates will be critical; Romney will spout off things to tick off his supposed base, sing a duet of Kumbya with Obama, and then agree with the moderator about how Tea Party members are extremists who don't represent even a fraction of the electorate.
Maybe I'll be wrong, but I doubt it.
I have stopped watching debates. I find them to be utterly vapid and worthless, not even entertainment.
I had the misfortune to watch a segment of the last Brown-Warren debate, and she would say things like “Experts say I am 76% more effective at cutting taxes than Scott Brown would be.”
I was dumbfounded. The object was to talk as fast as you can and spout statistics that can neither be checked nor debated. If someone does a fact check later, nobody hears about it.
Plus, one only needs to view the composition of the panels to know that, as a conservative, they aren’t there to help you in any way, and the situation is likely very different for your opponent.
Excellent post. As one who was a teenager in that era I totally agree with your assessment on the Nixon-Kennedy debate.
If Romney dominates, the press will just say that Romney attacked the President, and played politics.
And also that Obama was to busy being the President to prepare for the debates.
I doubt if ill watch it. My mind was long ago made up and what’s more, the sound and sight of The One makes me want to hurl chunks. Maybe I’ll go up to the Legion for some Wii bowling that night.
Romney has always done better in the debates during the primaries. I think he’ll really shine.
How is it possible that we have almost the exact same scenario as in 2008? Because the so-called GOP-e is also an extension of America's fifth column and the "enemy within."
How can America's future be hanging on Mitt Romney and his clueless campaign? How can America possibly survive if somehow, unbelievably, Obama gets in there for another four years? If Obama does get in, we'll probably soon forget about Obama because we'll too busy fighting the U.N's Agenda 21 and the NWO takeover.
Reagan's "Morning in America" has too quickly become Obama's "Midnight in America" (and the world).
That's the bad news. The good news if you're a believer in Jesus Christ, is that this will surely hasten Jesus' return for His own before the end of the world when God judges the world. We will be spared the horrors of God's wrath that will be poured out on the earth. And seven years later, we'll return in triumph with Jesus who, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will rule the earth as the Prince of Peace. He'll do it right and show that what man could only do for a couple of hundred years every so often throughout the history of mans fairly miserable record, He will do for a thousand years. Can't wait. Be ready - He's coming soon.
Obama can’t lose and Romney can’t win.
Debates can be useful in stalling Obama’s upward momentum. It is the carpet bombing negative ads and the GOTV that will reverse the momentum back to Romney.
I’d be willing to wager Obama cancels his debate.
Or he finds some way to do it remotely or with a substitute, like maybe the Obama animatronic figure at Walt Disneyworld?
I think his empty chair already debated Clint Eastwood - and lost soundly!
I have to agree with the article. I’ve seen debates boost candidates and sink candidates, but those are rare. Typically, people see what they want to see in debates.
I remember thinking I lived on Mars when Lloyd Bensten mopped the floor with Quayle. I was active in the Bush campaign at a local level at the time, and couldn’t believe how many other volunteers were blinded to his pathetic performance.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that’s how the vast majority of voters see debates. A candidate says one or two things they agree with, so they instantly internalize a feeling of victory.
RE: I remember thinking I lived on Mars when Lloyd Bensten mopped the floor with Quayle
Still, the Bush/Quayle combo won anyway.
That debate, including the unforgettable Bensen line: “I knew Kennedy, and Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy”, did not amount to a hill of beans in the end.
Romney needs to go all out, gloves off, hard-core. No politeness, no nice, no sweetness. Just plain, hard facts. The Obama campaign is ready to annihilate him, so why even attempt to be ‘nice?’
If he stays steady, and genuinely challenges Obama on his record, it will be fascinating TV. No teleprompter for Obama, so he won’t do well.
I think it could be a game-changer for Romney.
For example how come nobody has brought up obummer's claim that it's OK to lie as a candidate?
I’m in for $5 and a decimal point!! I’m fully prepared for a comma, if need be!
That's the quandary we find ourselves in. I just wish we would've been raptured before having to watch our country destroyed. Hopefully, we'll be able to hold on to most of our freedoms until He calls us home. Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!
Exactly. Which pretty much proves my point.
The media tells us that Mitt feels entitled and better than the rest of us. And you go right along and drink the kool-aid and fall for their BS hook, line, and sinker.
When exactly has Mitt ever said he was “better than us’ or said he was “entitled”? Please direct me to the date and occasion.
Fixed smile? I guess you prefer the charisma of John McCain or Bob Dole.
Fear of normal people? I guess you missed him at the airport the other day greeting, shaking hands, and thanking a group of war veterans as they disembarked their airplane.
I don’t mind criticism, but you should be truthful when doing so.
I too hate to see our freedoms being violated and want to fight to keep them. But one way or the other, I think God wants to teach us that we ARE free, seated with Him in Heavenly places far above all principality and power. Paul the Apostle had more freedom is his life, more intimacy with the Father, and more influence throughout the ages in a Roman prison than most people who are naturally free in America.
That’s the genius. The very idea taps into the natural envy and resentment that so many feel towards the rich, that they don’t have to prove it.
A number of people have told me (and I didn’t even ask!) that they aren’t watching the debates because they cannot stomach hearing 0bastard’s voice, and that they will vote not exactly “for” Romney, but AGAINST 0bastard.
It certainly does seem as though some of the MSM may be slightly turning against 0. Perhaps some of them see the writing on the wall, and they are realizing that perhaps many of us will hold them accountable for their lies.
Agree with you and Amen.
One tactic the Romney camp should consider is buying one hour of airtime on the 3 national networks plus Fox News, plus CNN. Hold an unstructured question and answer round table with 12 average, articulate middle class conservative voters. Let them tell their stories about how the Obama depression has harmed their businesses and families. Let them have a dialogue with Romney about what needs to be done to bring the country back to greatness. Show Romney actually listening and engaging with real middle class Americans, not some news media defined selected politically correct cross section. People watching will know the participants are real people like them and when they see an unscripted Romney in conversation with real people the perceptions of him as aloof and uncaring will melt away.