By Melissa O’Beck |Staff Writer|
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney went neck and neck during Tuesday’s presidential debate, leaving Fox News and CNN both declaring the debate a split decision for the win.
However, was America’s decision left split? Not likely.
I am not dismissing the significance of staying informed about candidates’ platforms. According to Fox News, 67 million viewers tuned in to watch Tuesday night’s debate.
Was the bickering and battling entertaining? Yes.
Was it effective? In my opinion, no. If these debates, filled with vague concepts and misleading promises, have any kind of impact, it is probably not for the reasons you might think.
Danny Oppenheimer, Associate Professor of psychology and public policy at Princeton University, said in an interview with Popular Science, “Being actually knowledgeable about the issues doesn’t matter at all, unfortunately. What matters is that they sound like they are knowledgeable about the issues: don’t say “um,” don’t equivocate, don’t veer too far from conventional wisdom, don’t give complex answers.”
Literally, this is the only time the candidates will stand next to each other during the course of the campaign.
When it comes to who a person will vote for, there are a number of factors affecting the popular perception of the candidates’ likability, competency and empathy, which voters derive initially from a first impression and appearance, not debates.
I personally believe the majority of people watch the debates with a predetermined decision on who they will vote for.
This makes the viewer biased while watching and listening to the debate, often making them closed off to the other candidate’s argument.
“While I enjoyed watching the debates, the candidates are never specific enough with what they will do as President, particularly Governor Romney,” said Communications Professor Donna Gotch. “It is hard to believe there are voters who are still undecided but language is powerful and voters can be persuaded by what candidates say in the debate,”
While I can understand that voters who aren’t sure whether they will cast a ballot, or as CNN calls them, “ the “persuadables,” I highly doubt the ill-defined policies discussed during Tuesday’s debate is enough to steal the votes of the undecided.
“I don’t even usually vote, but if I decide to vote this year it’s definitely not going to be based off the debates,” said student Marissa Thorn. “I think the debates are annoying because all they do is tear each other down and lie about who they really are.”
Besides those who have their DVR preset to the debates for family night and the small percentage that tune in seeking clarification that will never be found, there is the rest of us, including myself, who don’t watch the debates.
The ones who can not bear the thought of sitting through two hours of tormenting nonsense that will level out to nothing once the new president is elected.
The debates can be classified as patriotism, entertainment or even just flat out lies. However, they hardly qualify as a reliable source to base your vote.
If you are one of the few who do, be prepared for a term of disappointment.