Our “Political Insiders” say the presidential debates will be crucial to deciding who wins the election in November.
86% of the Republicans we queried, along with 80% of the Democrats and 87% of our readers said the debates would be either “very” or “somewhat” important in determining the winner between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Asked whether third party candidates like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson should be included on the debate stage, the Republicans and Democrats on our panel were fairly evenly divided, while our readers said they should be.
Only 51% of the Republicans we asked and 45% of the Democrats on our panel said those third-party candidates should be included, while 70% of our readers said they should be on the debate stage.
Selected anonymous comments:
“This year’s first debate may be the most important debate in modern history. Neither candidate is very popular, but this could put one candidate up big.”
“It should be made clear that the Republican and Democratic parties run the debates. I miss the League of Women Voters being in charge of the debates. At least there was a chance then that the debates would be fair.”
“I have no interest in watching Trump and Hillary. I already know I won’t vote for them. Put Johnson/Weld, Castle/Bradley, and Evan McMullin, as well as Stein on stage and I, would watch. In fact, just leave Hillary and Trump off.”
“This year I think the deciding factor could be the debates. If Trump looks Presidential and composed and Hillary does not or has another 4-minute coughing attack then game over.”
“The Presidential election is more polarized than ever and, given that and the high negatives for both leading candidates, means that for the undecided voter the debates will be the most accessible and effective way of proving which candidate is most supportable. As for the third-party candidates, Johnson obviously doesn’t know enough (Aleppo, I don’t need no stinking Aleppo) to be taken seriously and Stein just isn’t strong enough.”
“I will probably not watch the debates. I don’t want to start throwing things at the TV whenever Donald Trump opens his mouth.”
“The debates will be critical in deciding which candidate loses enough votes to Gary Johnson to lose the presidential election.”
“These debates will sway no one and change nothing. When can it all be over?”
“I don’t know how important the presidential debates will be in the total outcome of the election. I may sound cheeky, (I can’t help it. My comments have a lot of unmitigated cheek.) but I feel that the “debates”, or whatever they may be called, will be neither “presidential” or “debates.” Our political stage now is a stage with deceptive lighting, trap doors, and other effects to muddy up the whole affair. (Can I say “affair” in this publication?) This whole thing is shaping up to be really bad theater, similar to reality television, where loosely scripted productions star actors of no repute, or skill at all trying to act “natural” and “real”. I feel that we as a society are getting sucked into TV programs described in the book “Fahrenheit 451,” political ads and debates not excluded. I would be totally amazed if one of the so-called “journalists” can even put a truly meaningful question to either candidate. Bad theater, bad questions, nonsensical answers. Poor jaded me. The only saving grace would be to have the other candidates involved in the debates if nothing else to liven things up a bit. “Hamlet” had its grave diggers. Even a tragedy needs comic relief.”
“The debates will be high drama this year, and they are the one time when Joe Public tunes into the election process. This year’s debates could well be very critical to the outcome of the election.”
“The vast majority of voters have already made up their minds, and a debate will not change their vote.”
“Until the country figures out that they’re voting for the least worst of two horrific choices, and that third and fourth options exist, the debates will matter very little. Perhaps the debates will help a little in a swing state or two. Johnson and Stein won’t be included in the debates, and are better off for it. One minute sound bites with a complicit media twisting phrases to suit whatever pathetic narrative an editor woke up deciding to follow that day is hardly a way to have a policy discussion with the country. So let the two freaks from the major parties have their “debate.” Perhaps Johnson, Stein, et al. will take the opportunity to do something significantly more substantive.”
“I think the third party candidates should take part in the debates so that the electorate is exposed to a broader range of perspectives. I don’t think the debates will make much of a difference in the outcome of the election because the nation is so polarized that few people are open to considering new viewpoints.”
“I think the first debate will decide the election. If Hillary has a bad night and Trump looks Presidential then it is game over. If Trump has a bad night and Hillary looks Presidential then eight more years of darkness.”
“The debates will really only be worth the entertainment value they will provide. Trump will make an even bigger fool of himself and Hillary Clinton will own him!”
“The debates may show the difference in knowledge & preparation, but more likely Trump will dominate with bluster & BS. Gary Johnson, yes, Jill Stein, no. Johnson has enough support to justify his presence, but Stein doesn’t.”
“The polling has shown how fluid this election is, many will make up their mind in the booth, drawing from their memory of debate content and tone.”
“Gary and Jill should be on the stage, but only if Trump has nicknames for them first.”
“Has Hillary ever been attacked for 90 minutes straight on national TV?”
“For the national debates, we need every viable candidate that is on the ballots in virtually all 50 states. That would include Johnson and Stein.”
“They should include Johnson. People are desperate to find some reason to cast a positive vote for someone.”