WASHINGTON - In homes, libraries, and universities across the country, citizens gathered to watch and discuss the presidential and vice presidential debates. These citizens, who were participants in the Commission on Presidential Debates' DebateWatch voter education program, shared their feedback through an online questionnaire posted at www.debates.org. To date, approximately 13,000 people in 540 DebateWatch discussion groups throughout 46 states nationwide have participated. Of those, roughly 2,000 people in 136 groups responded directly to the vice presidential debate.
Preliminary data for Tuesday night's vice presidential debate show that participants reported Iraq and national security to be the most useful issue (27%) addressed. Health and healthcare was second (15%); the topic of poverty and jobs was third (13%); and the differences between the candidates was ranked the fourth most important issue (10%) addressed during the debate.
In addition to providing feedback on the debate they just watched, DebateWatch participants also have 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 suggestions from the September 30 presidential debate and the October 5 vice presidential debate include: jobs and the economy (27%), education (14%), health and healthcare (15%), and energy/environment (6%). Note: These topic suggestions will not be provided to the citizen questioners of tomorrow night's town hall debate in St. Louis.
Two more debates will be held before the election. They will be carried live on most major networks.
DebateWatches are scheduled in most states in conjunction with these two remaining debates. To find a DebateWatch near you, visit www.debates.org or contact Heather Balas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Heather Balas at email@example.com.