Do Debates Tell Us Anything?

Experts predict that about $1 billion will be spent upon this year’s Presidential election.  That is a lot of money and makes one wonder why so much money?  It seems most of the money goes for staff, political strategists, and media advertisements.  Up until the first Presidential debate this money seemed to be tilting the election soundly in favor of President Obama.  Following the debate, suddenly the polls shifted and the race was neck and neck again.  What happened?

Political pundits have been gleefully analyzing the first debate.  These pundits are barely concealing their joy at having a race down to the wire.  It’s all about jobs, you know.  But what did voters see?

Most people watched the debate and barely listened.   Of some 67 million viewers, most had already made their choice.  They were tuning in in order to get confirmation.

To most everyone’s surprise, the TV audience “saw” Mitt Romney standing their confidently and speaking without hesitation.  His mannerisms were selling his message.  President Obama, on the other hand, seemed like he wished he was someplace else.  His affectations varied from exasperated to disdain to incredulous.  President Obama heard and understood what Mitt Romney was saying.  But in any case, President Obama lacked enthusiasm when he spoke, and failed to call out Romney on his math or new proposals.

Is this what people saw?

I think so.  Too many people have reported this same impression.  What is intriguing is that few “non-experts” have realized that Romney’s proposals do not add up mathematically, and even more surprisingly, Romney introduced a number of completely revamped proposals.  These propositions retreated from his primary far right stances and landed in the center or just right of center.

One is left with the conclusion that the middle swing voters are much more comfortable with Romney’s robust presentation style and for some, his more moderate proposals.  In other words, voters do not care about whether Romney’s proposals are real but more that he, Romney, seems to believe them.  Swing voters are clearly more comfortable with center policies while strongly conservative voters are smiling coyly with the belief that Romney will slip back to the right after the election.

So what do debates tell us?

It would seem that American voters prefer to be told what they want to hear.  They also want those myths told with enthusiasm.  I hope President Obama has learned that lesson.

Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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One Comment on “Do Debates Tell Us Anything?”

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