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tedd's avatar

Did last nights debate effect how you will vote?

Asked by tedd (14048points) October 4th, 2012

I think we can all agree Romney looked best last night in the first presidential debate. He came out swinging and Obama came out waiting for him to put his foot in his mouth, and it never happened. The substance behind what they were saying wasn’t really all that different from their campaigns thus far (though Obama surely could’ve used to call out Romney as he does in his ads), but Romney put it more concisely and looked better doing it. Anyways, we could debate about who won and the substance of the debate for hours, but that’s not what I want….

I read an article on yesterday or the day before, that pointed out that debates typically don’t have that big of an effect on the election. It showed them to have fleeting bumps in the polls, much like the conventions, but that unless something major happened at one, you couldn’t expect to see more than a 1% swing long term. But it’s hard to gauge that article or the effect this debate had on my own from my friends and family. The people who already made up their minds were out on Facebook reasserting themselves, but no one who was undecided (assuming I even have those friends) was really vocal about where they stood now.

Did this debate change how you will vote on November 6th? Were you going to vote for one guy but now you’re going for the other? Were you set on your vote but now you’ve come back to undecided and want to hear more from one or both candidates? Did it possibly turn you off from voting all together? Why did it have that effect on how you’ll vote? For what reasons did it have that effect?

again, please try to keep this from devolving into a back and forth about who’s the better candidate or who won the debate, there will be plenty of time for those arguments in other threads I’m sure

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27 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I did watch the debate, but I knew it would not effect the way I will vote.

tom_g's avatar

No. Didn’t watch the debate. The existence of these sporting events should be humiliating. What can you get from this theater that you can’t get from reading each party’s platform and doing some real research? Nothing.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Didn’t change a thing. Romney’s points weren’t substantive enough to draw my attention and Obama, well, he reminded me why I’m a bit disappointed in him but not in a way that’d cost him my vote. I can’t say it turned me off from voting any more than other parts of the process do but it did reinforce my belief that our current model of candidates’ exposure doesn’t just passively shy from, but actively evades, any sort of depth.

marinelife's avatar

It did not affect me except to make me angry. There will be no effect on my vote. Obama all the way.

KNOWITALL's avatar

As a liberal Republican, I clearly lean toward Mitt with a few trepidations, but last night sealed my vote for him for President. He agreed with Obama on quite a few things as well, which was nice to hear, just some differences on implementation and funding.

tedd's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yah I have to agree, for all the rhetoric about how different the candidates are that you hear leading up to the election… it’s kind of funny to think how really similar they are in just about everything economically, other than how to pay for stuff.

wundayatta's avatar

I have to say that in the morning, I am very depressed. Obama looked really bad last night. He was tired. He had no energy. He wasn’t thinking very quickly. He just didn’t seem presidential. So I worry that the people who vote based on looks will be influenced significantly by last night’s debate. I have a feeling that in a couple of days… if not today (since the trend started two days ago already), we are going to see the polls showing a significant tightening of the race.

Obama has to do better in the next two debates. And if things are normal, I’m sure he will. However, I’m afraid that the reason he is tired is because things are happening that he can’t talk about. I’m sure the events in Iran are probably taking up a lot of his time, as he is monitoring them closely. Similarly, Syria requires a lot of watching. And who knows what else is going on in places like Libya and whatnot.

Romney has nothing to do but campaign. But Obama must rule the nation and right now, it looks like a lot of intense things are happening. So Obama let Romney get away with all of his lies, and did not convincingly explain how they were lies. Obama went on too long and didn’t distill his points to easily understandable phrases. He has to do that or he is toast. He has to look presidential or he is toast. He has to sound presidential or he is toast.

So I’m worried now. I don’t know if he has enough wiggle room to recover from last night. And I know that if does that again, he won’t be able to win the election.

Fortunately, history is on his side. It is traditional for the incumbent to do badly in the first debate. Bush did badly against Kerry, for example. Yet Bush recovered to win reelection. It was close, but he won. Obama can recover from this debacle. I believe he will.

Qingu's avatar


I wish Democrats would stop worrying about Obama’s performance too. We won’t know who “won” the debate until polling shows movement one way or the other in three days. Unless you actually believe Republicans like @KNOWITALL that they were actually “on the fence” (I don’t), partisans are not the audience.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I watched the debate and plan on watching the rest but I’ve been decided on who I was voting for, for some time now. Obama would have to seriously fuck up and Romney would have to come up with some miracle solution at this point for me to change my mind.

I also think Obama will come out swinging more in the next two debates. There were a lot of topics he could have brought up but neglected to.

And god damn Jim did a horrible job moderating that debate. They both just walked all over him the whole time.

tedd's avatar

While it’s pretty clear Romney dominated last nights debate, historically polls have shown that they have very little effect on the end of the race. Obama is up by so much, and Romney has to sweep the swing states.. so I’m still pretty confident an Obama W is coming. THAT SAID, I’d rather this be a thread about this debate and it’s effect on how you would vote.

Qingu's avatar

@tedd, that’s the thing. Most voters are already decided. This election is unusual for its low share of undecided voters at this point in the race.

Romney being aggressive or Obama being flat and defensive isn’t going to change how any of us are voting. And I think these undecided voters often react to debates in ways that pundits and partisans do not predict.

As a partisan, of course I wish Obama was more aggressive and hit Romney back on his bullshit more often. But I’m not sure that strategy would best win over undecided voters. I do think Romney performed well, although a lot of what he said is pretty dishonest and hypocritical.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why would anyone answer honestly to the question to be attacked by liberals as liars?

Qingu's avatar

Okay. Maybe I’m wrong. @KNOWITALL, What were your “trepidations” with Romney, and why did his debate performance help you overcome them exactly?

You said you liked that Romney agreed with Obama a lot, but in other threads you’ve portrayed Obama as someone who you don’t agree with at all in any way.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Quinqu You ARE wrong because you keep insisting I’m a liar no matter what I post about and I’m not sure if it’s because I admit I’m a liberal Republican or what tbh.

I choose not to argue with you because it’s rude in a public forum, but please carry on with all the other vocal Republicans in these threads…oh wait, no one wants to anymore because of people like you. Maybe you need to deal with your anger and trust issues.

tedd's avatar

@KNOWITALL @Qingu Children, I will turn this car around…..

Sunny2's avatar

It didn’t change the way I’ll vote. I’ve learned that I simply have a totally different point of view from Republicans and that as long as they think as they do, I could not vote for them.

Qingu's avatar

@KNOWITALL, I just want to say, I didn’t call you a liar, and I didn’t mean to imply you’re a liar. And in the past I have not shied away from calling people liars on here, so you should know that I mean what I say.

I don’t believe that you would have ever not voted for a Republican candidate, based on your writings on Fluther. But I believe you that you might have hesitated to vote for Romney for whatever reason, or been unhappy doing so. To me, that’s not the same as being “on the fence.” You’re certainly not an undecided—you said so yourself that you clearly lean GOP.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Quinqu I have discussed throwing my vote to the Libertarians based on my disaffection for O or R. Although I lean towards the Rep candidate, I won’t vote for a Big Pharma or Big Chinese Business rep no matter what because first and foremost I’m an American.

GracieT's avatar

If anything, this debate, as did Romney’s choice of Ryan, made me all the more determined to work for Obama. It didn’t change my opinion of Romney, but it made me all the more positive that he can be NOWHERE near the Oval Office. He saw which of Obama’s efforts were the most successful and said that, “of course I’ll continue that. It was my idea in the first place.”. He still hasn’t bothered to say what his own ideas are, just that “we lesser mortals” shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it- he’s looking out for us. ;0(

Blackberry's avatar

Of course not.

Qingu's avatar

@KNOWITALL, why you think Romney is less of a Big Pharma or Big Chinese Business person than Obama? Romney wants to repeal the ACA (which Big Pharma opposed) and his company Bain outsourced businesses to China.

rojo's avatar

I believe we should have a different term other than “debate” for these things.

And bring back the League of Women Voters to run the things.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Quinqo I’m in a unique position of working in a company partly owned by Bain, so I, more than anyone else probably in these forums, know exactly what Romney means when he discusses corporate jobs, dollars, cuts, etc…which is why he still scares me.

ETpro's avatar

No impact on my vote. Somebody shook up Mr. Etch-a-Sketch one more time, and a whole new Mitt Romney who was against everything he had been for the day before showed up on stage. Bold faced lies won’t win my vote no matter how much the liar’s body language says he is presidential and in control.

rojo's avatar

No, it did not. All it did was piss me off.
I am super disappointed in Jim Lehrer. Softball questions and no control. Both candidates expressed their gratitude to him but, in my opinion, what they were saying was thanks for letting us walk all over you and your rules. He should have walked out on them and left them to their little sound bites.
We need a moderator that is not intimidated by the candidates, one who call them when they stray off topic and does not let them drone on-and-on without actually answering the question. Case in point, at the start of the, and I use the term loosely, “debate” he asked Romney “Do you have a question for President Obama?” Three minutes later we are still awaiting anything that is remotely phrased as a question. He should have stopped him 10 seconds into his “speech” and said something to the effect of “Governor, if you do not have a question, we will move on”.
And, I am not just picking on Romney here, Obama did his share of obfuscating and should have been called on it.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, how do you figure that Big Pharma opposed the ACA?

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, they lobbied against it early on. They succeeded in weakening some of the laws provisions in lock-step with Republicans. The idea that they’ll have more customers seems to have sated them to some extent but it’s not at all clear that ACA will actually help their bottom line.

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