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How Significant Are Presidential Debates for Election Campaigns and Outcomes?

Essay by   •  February 26, 2018  •  Essay  •  407 Words (2 Pages)  •  267 Views

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How significant are presidential debates for election campaigns and outcomes?

The Presidential debate is very important as it allows the 2 presidential candidates to present themselves to the rest of the US. The first presidential debate was between Nixon v Kennnedy in 1960 however they didn’t return until 1976, but since then they have been used in every presidential election with more stress being put onto them in recent elections.

The presidential debates can be said to be very important and especially for the challenger, as its used as a chance to catch the incumberment off guard. This was seen in the first presidential debate between Romney and Obama where many people thought that Obama underperformed massively, almost all polls either democrat leaning or republican thought that Romeny was the clear winner. Mitt Romeny gained a 3 percent bounce in the polls bringing him much closer to the incumberment. This shows the importance of presidential debates as they can inevitable change the way the electorate view a candidate.

The way that both of the candites present themselves in the presidential debates further shows the importance of debates on the final outcome, for either a negative or positive way. One candidate who benefitted from his presentation was in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was questioned about his age and if he was fit for office, he responded smartly and humeoruly by saying he didn’t want to expose his oppents youth and inexperience, this ended the age issue and led to him winning 49 states in the following election. Whilst it had a negative effect on Al Gore in 2000 as he was caught by the camera’s rolling his eyes during Bush’s speech. This lead to a decrease in polls and saw him lose the election when many people predicted he would win. To summarise the presentation of a candidate duruing a presidential debate plays a massive significance on the outcome.

Furthermore the presidential debate is the first time that each candidate will hear detailed policies that they both believe in. This can be important as many cnaidates over the years have changed polcies due to opppostion pressure. One example of this was in the 2012 presidental debate as Oboma was pressured on the econmey by Romney, this lead to Oboma giving the econmey issue more importance, oboma went on to win the election that year. Therefore it could be said that without hearing detailed polcies from oppenents, oboma could have lost the election.

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