Presidential debates impacting young voters, others

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by Kenya Abbott Jr.

With millions of people tuning in to the presidential debates, students at Michigan State University are contemplating how much effect they will really have on voters.

Recent studies have shown that most presidential debates have little or no impact on voter’s choice.

Patricia Jackson, a senior at Michigan State University, agrees with the claim that presidential debates have little effect on election outcomes.

“Voters are pretty much set on who they will vote for,” Jackson says.

However, other students at Michigan State University believe that this year’s presidential debates will play a huge role in the election.

Analysts from multiple media outlets believe the debates will be important for both candidates.

Tyler Clifford, a junior at Michigan State University says that the debates will have a huge impact on undecided voters as well as independents.

“The presidential debate allows for people to make a better decision on which candidate they choose to vote for,” Clifford says.

In the Journalist’s Resource, James Fallows, a veteran political journalist, former Democratic speechwriter and national correspondent at The Atlantic, said that he believes the Obama-Romney debates could be especially important.

Lauren Wheeler, a junior at Michigan State University, explains that the debates have a lot of impact on voters.

“If the candidates are saying what people want to hear, they will get votes,” said Wheeler.

Silver Moore, a senior at Michigan State University, said that the swing states up for grab can play a huge role in pushing either candidate ahead.

“The debates give voters, both decided and undecided, an opportunity to actually put the candidates head to head,” Moore said.

While you would think that people already had their mind made up about who they were voting for and why, there are a group of undecided voters that are looking to make a choice.

According to the New York Times Campaign Stop Blog, about six percent of voters are still undecided.

A big part of the election is about winning those votes of people who are undecided, said Moore.

“For people who have not made up their minds yet about who they intend to vote for, the presidential debates could serve a great impact,” said Moore.

Clifford explains that there is a lot of “he said” or “she said” during political campaigns that makes it difficult for voters to honestly examine both sides.

“The debates puts these opposing parties on a panel that allows them to argue their own side,” Clifford says.

In the remaining debates, both candidates will have to work hard to connect with undecided voters.

Moore believes that just as in the political campaigns, audiences are swayed by a lot more than simply issues.

“Often times, likeability or even the way the candidates look can skew perception and sway voters,” Moore says.

Yet, voters like Clifford are looking forward to the candidates discussing important issues, specifically education, which can sway many of the undecided college voters one way or another.

Both undecided and decided voters are probably going to be looking out for issues and this will give candidates the opportunity to address these important issues, said Jackson.

With most America decided on who they will vote for, it is hard to say if many will watch the debates.

For people like Lauren Wheeler, she says she has her mind made up and does not believe that those people with concrete candidate decisions will watch the debates at all.

Jackson explains that presidential debates are catered to undecided voters. However others believe that many Americans will tune in to the debates.

“I think that a large number of people whether decided or undecided will tune in to the first debate,” Clifford argues.

First debates are usually intriguing and have the ability to draw in those people who have paid little attention to the political campaign, Clifford explains.

Most of the time, people tend to pay more attention to presidential debates over other debates, like vice presidential, governors, mayors, etc.

“But for others, they have their minds made up, so they may not pay attention to the debates at all,” said Moore.

The Presidential debates resume Tuesday, October 16 at 9 p.m.

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