Presidential debate sways voters
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 00:10
Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama argued over the national budget and the economy at the first presidential debate on last Wednesday. Moderated by Jim Lehrer, the candidates spent their time attempting to clearly demonstrate how their presidency would positively affect the nation and its citizens.
Sophomore Dylan Gallimore, president of College Independents, said Obama’s lack of vigor and passion was one of the things that stood out most during Wednesday’s debate. Gallimore said although Romney is often portrayed by the media as inarticulate, his performance at the debate was surprisingly effective.
“A month ago, if I had been told that Romney’s oratory skills would work largely in his favor, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Gallimore said.
Political science professor James Magee attributed Obama’s detached attitude to coaching he may have had before the debate. He said while Obama is the official Democratic candidate, he is also the President, and needs to be seen as such.
Magee said by reading a transcript of the debate, he was able to judge that Obama was not only prepared to talk to Romney, he was ready to challenge every one of Romney’s remarks. However, he said it would be difficult for those who only watched the debate to realize this.
According to Magee, Romney was more aggressive and substantially louder than Obama, but did not properly explain his ideas. He said Romney often cut off Lehrer and had a hard time following the rules of the debate.
“Romney, in my view, came out as another version of himself,” Magee said. “Throughout this campaign, we have seen 185 different Mitt Romney’s out there.”
Sophomore Caroline Murphy, who serves on the executive board of College Democrats, said she believes the candidates have two very different ideas for the future of America. While she said she thinks Obama has a solid plan for the future, she believes he should have more clearly articulated what he could do for the country during the debate. She also said she thought Obama should have been quicker to argue with Romney.
“Obama tried to take the high road in this case, and it just did not work,” Murphy said.
Gallimore said while the debates were entertaining, they did not and will not sway his vote in the election.
“Debates, in my personal opinion, are similar to reality shows—they reward the candidate who has the most zingers, one-liners or comebacks,” Gallimore said. “They don’t seem to reward the articulation of original ideas.”
While Magee said he believes this will be an extremely close election, he thinks Romney may have moved the few undecided voters left to his side. He said there is a limited amount of swing voters left, but Romney might have done exactly what he had to do to win them over.
According to Magee, the debate could be disappointing to Obama voters due to the President’s disengaged attitude. However, he said he thinks Obama has the capacity to come back and be more assertive in the next debate.
Brad Gunther, a senior political science major and chairman of Delaware Federation of College Republicans, said the influx of social media has allowed college-age voters to become more involved in the election process. He said previous debates have been geared toward an older crowd, but outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have allowed the younger generations to formulate their own opinions.