WASHINGTON - The Commission on Presidential Debates' DebateWatch voter education program continues to convene citizens in their communities to watch and discuss the presidential debates. To date, approximately 16,000 people in 700 DebateWatch discussion groups throughout 48 states nationwide have participated. Of those, roughly 2,600 people in 300 groups responded directly to the October 8 town hall meeting presidential debate. The citizens shared their feedback through an online questionnaire.
Preliminary data for Friday night's presidential debate show that participants reported Iraq and national security to be the most useful issue (34%) addressed. Economic issues were second (26%); healthcare was third (13%); and the environment and stem cell research were evenly ranked as the fourth most valuable issue (8% each) addressed during the debate.
In addition to providing feedback on the debate they just watched, DebateWatch participants have taken the opportunity to suggest topics for the final debate on October 13. The ultimate topic selection remains at the sole discretion of the independent moderator. Combined domestic topic suggestions from the September 30, October 5, and October 8 debates include: jobs and the economy (24%), education (16%), healthcare (15%), energy/environment (9%), taxes (5%), and Social Security (4%).
The final debate will be held Wednesday, October 13, 9 pm ET, at Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. It will be carried live on most major networks.
DebateWatches are scheduled in most states in conjunction with the final debate. Citizens can still sign up to hold a DebateWatch in their homes and communities, or they can attend one that is already planned. For more information contact Heather Balas at [email protected]