The Times West Virginian

October 14, 2012

Do debates have major impact on voters?

Times West Virginian

— Two round of debates.

The first, was watched by 37.41 million, and then about 25 million watched post-debate analysis. On top of that, the presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney made social networking history. It generated 10.3 million tweets, and at its peak, there were 160,000 tweets per minute. So there’s no doubt the reach the debate had an impact, whether the TV was tuned in or not.

And there’s very little doubt that Obama let Romney get a pretty big lead and never fully recovered. Oh sure, there were zingers here and there. But Romney’s biggest gaffe was his “attack” against Big Bird. ... Or rather his discussion about how tough decisions have to be made to deal with the federal deficit and budget, and if that means cutting federal funding to PBS, then so be it.

Round two ... Vice President Joe Biden and GOP VP pick Paul Ryan last week.

So who won that one?

Most say both did.

“Biden offered the passion and the argumentation that Democrats so missed from their president last week,” Washington Post associate editor Robert Kaiser reflected. “Ryan, by appearing plausible as a future president and apparently knowledgeable on a wide range of issues, reassured Republicans that Gov. Romney had made a good choice for veep.”

Two more presidential debates are on the horizon. Who’s to say how either will go? But that isn’t the question. The question is whether the debates actually have an effect on others, who head to the polls in three weeks to decide the next president of the United States.

Last week, we asked out faithful readers to lend their opinion on the issue. On our online poll question, which can be found each week at, we asked: How much of an impact do you think the presidential and vice presidential televised debates have on voters?

And here are our responses.

Not much, but I believe it energizes and encourages hem to get to the polls and vote — 27.68 percent.

None. Voters have made up their minds and are aligned with candidates long before the debates — 30.36 percent.

A lot. For undecided voters, the debates give candidates the chance to earn their votes — 41.96 percent.

Again, as we’ve always said, it doesn’t matter who you vote for or who wins your support as long as you’re exercising our very powerful right to vote. This week, let’s come back home to our backyard and talk about the shameful behavior in Sunnyside after West Virginia University’s win over Texas. Do you think it will get any better?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor