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September 29, 2012


Debates Rarely Have An Effect

Miranda Green: "From Al Gore's loud sighing to Jimmy Carter saying he consulted his 12-year-old daughter on nuclear proliferation, presidential debates are full of memorable moments. But despite the fanfare that surrounds each election cycle's televised events, historical data shows the debates are rarely game changers."

"A 2008 Gallup study found that between 1960 and 2004, there were only two years where debates made a difference in actual votes. Instead, the most common outcome of the presidential debates is a slight popularity bump... Data from the Gallup study also saw no direct correlation between the winner of each debate and the winner of the presidency. The 2004 Kerry vs. Bush debate was cited as an example. Kerry was considered the victor of all three showdowns, but still lost the election."

Donna Brazile: "The debates this year will certainly have their moments. But both candidates are already so well-known, the memorable lines will probably reinforce, rather than change, voters' perceptions."












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