DebateWatch is a voter education program of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). DebateWatch is a way to get American voters talking about the candidates and issues, not just listening. It brings people together to watch the televised debates, turn off the television as soon as it is over, and then have a discussion about what they have just seen and heard.
Before the Debate:
• Invite neighbors, colleagues, and friends to your DebateWatch
• Ask participants to arrive 20-30 minutes prior to the debate
Night of the Debate:
• Arrange the room so everyone can see the television.
• Supply pens and paper if you wish.
• Only turn the TV on until shortly before the debate begins
After the Debate:
• Turn the TV off when the debate ends – before the post-debate commentators start talking.
• Remind everyone that this is a discussion and that there are no right or wrong opinions.
• Follow the suggested questions below or raise your own. Encourage group members to ask questions.
DebateWatch Discussion Questions
• Why did you decide to participate in DebateWatch?
• What did you learn about the candidates or issues that you did not know prior to the debate?
• What topics or issues discussed in the debates were most useful or informative?
• Were there any issues raised that you considered irrelevant or unimportant? What issues would you like to see discussed in subsequent debates?
Questions About the DebateWatch Experience:
• Will participating in this DebateWatch discussion affect the way you read, watch or discuss the presidential election?
• Will participating in DebateWatch influence or change the way you vote in this election?
Questions for the second, third or vice presidential debates:
• What did you learn from this debate that you did not learn from the previous debate(s)?
• Did the town hall style debate prove to be more valuable than the traditional format?
• How, if at all, did the press coverage of the previous debate(s) influence your attitudes about the candidates or the issues in this debate?
• What did you learn from the vice presidential debate that was different from the presidential debate?