How do voters feel about the Biden-Trump debates? And will they make a difference?


Two televised debates between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are scheduled for June and September. Some undecided voters are excited about these debates but are unsure if watching them will affect their voting decision.

Biden and Trump will debate on June 27, hosted by CNN, and again on September 10, hosted by ABC News. The Biden campaign has set specific conditions for these debates:

  • No live audience.
  • Microphones that turn off when a candidate’s speaking time is up.

Doug Barth, a retired resident from Montana who leans Democratic but is undecided, supports some of Biden’s conditions. He likes the idea of no live audience, believing it prevents extreme reactions from both sides that could influence the candidates’ demeanor. However, he is doubtful about the debates’ overall usefulness, particularly because he believes Trump often lies. Barth wants to see if Biden can come across confidently.

The impact of debates on voters’ decisions is debated. A Pew Research Center study of surveys from 1998 to 2016 found that more than half of voters usually said debates were helpful in deciding who to vote for. However, in 2012 and 2016, only about 10% of voters said the debates directly influenced their decision.

Kathryn Cramer Brownell, a history professor and expert on politics and media at Purdue University, noted that while debates are a significant part of the election process, they may not drastically change voter attitudes. Instead, they provide a chance for everyone to hear the candidates discuss the same topics simultaneously.

Julie Tetuan, a senior manager in the pharmaceutical industry from Tennessee, is an undecided voter registered as a Republican. She believes debates are essential but doesn’t think they will change her views on the candidates. Tetuan feels that most people already have a solid understanding of the candidates’ personalities, interactions with voters, and approaches to issues. She views debates as “good political theater” that could impact the race if one candidate performs poorly, but she doubts they will clarify policies much.

The timing of these debates is unusual. Typically, general election debates happen after the major party conventions, where the candidates and their party positions are clarified. Holding debates before the conventions is a significant change.

Matthew Labkovski, an undecided voter from Florida, is optimistic about the new debate schedule but remains skeptical about its impact on his views. He appreciates that having debates through September shows a response to modern circumstances and current events.

The upcoming debates between Biden and Trump are generating mixed reactions from undecided voters. While some are excited about the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss issues directly, others are unsure if the debates will influence their final decision. The conditions set by Biden’s campaign and the unusual timing of the debates add further intrigue to these events. Ultimately, while debates are a crucial part of the election process, their ability to sway voter opinions remains uncertain.


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