The three presidential debates are over, and citizens now look forward
to casting their votes on Nov 6. With less than a week before Election Day,
both candidates are making their final bids to sway voters.
One of the biggest surprises this year was President Obama’s poor
showing in the first televised debate on Oct 3. Many analysts are saying that
if the president fails to win reelection, Obama’s much-maligned performance
could be the cause. In a CNN poll of registered voters after the first debate,
70 percent said that the Republican challenger Mitt Romney won.
Though President Obama’s performance was rated much higher in the
following debates, political analysts are finding that the debates themselves
may not hold much importance to voters. According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal
survey, debates made no difference for 47 percent of registered voters.
Some University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point students held similar
opinions of the debate.
“I thought each debate offered a good background with both candidates,
but I also think the debates alone shouldn’t be as big of an influence on
voters’ decisions as some make them out to be,” said junior urban forestry
major Benjamin Kollock, who watched all three of the presidential debates. “The
debates definitely are important, and I think they help show an in-depth view
of each candidate’s personality, which can be that one thing needed to convince
an undecided voter to vote for them.”
Cassie Scott, a junior communication major, said that she did not
watch the debates but felt that they do have at least the possibility of
“I feel having the right to vote is a chance to make an impact and
to choose who you believe would be the best candidate for presidency. Every
person should have the personal drive to vote, regardless of all the political
debates and advertisements,” Scott said. “The outcome will affect you, so it
can change your life.”
Corey Lepak, a senior communication major who watched the first
of this year’s presidential debates, found the debate important to watch but
that it should not necessarily be the sole factor deciding which candidate
someone votes for.
“I got to know the candidates a lot more than I did in any other
format. It was pretty enlightening. I feel like the debates have some
influence, but a lot of what people draw from the debates can be pretty
overblown like, ‘Obama had a good debate’ or ‘Romney was the better debater.’ I
don’t think any of that matters, come election time,” Lepak said.
Not all students agreed that the debates or politics in general
“I honestly don’t really care at all because none of it really
affects me right now,” said senior English major Theng Khang. “The debates are
pretty much just drama between the candidates.”
Oct 24-28 survey by the Pew Research Center finding President Obama and
Republican challenger Romney virtually tied at 47 percent apiece, this election
will surely be as close as ever. Either candidate’s performance in the debates
might just be the reason for any outcome.