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.
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