Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Debate didn't appear to have much impact on voters

By Paige Hobbs
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
            The only true debate of Kentucky’s U.S Senate race didn’t appear to change many votes, judging from interviews immediately after the debate with voters who said in the recent Bluegrass Poll that they had chosen a candidate but might change their minds.
And supporters of Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has had some difficulty sending a clear, positive message to voters, said her appearance did nothing to change their minds, either.
Steve Clevinger of Kenton County, a retired postal worker, sad in the recent poll that he was for Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, but wasn’t sure if he had made up his mind. After the debate, he sounded more certain.
“If I had to pick a winner in the debate, I would say it was Mitch McConnell,” Clevinger said. “It didn’t seem that Secretary Grimes could address a subject without attacking the senator. His name came up more often than her own policies.”
Grimes repeatedly called in the debate for raising the minimum wage, but Clevinger said, “If she had her way, what she would be doing is creating a permanent underclass.”
Grimes supporter Alma Irvin, a retired business supervisor from Hopkinsville, thought differently.
“She sounded like she’s for the people and wants to help the people, overall I think she won the debate,” Irvin said. Asked her overall opinion of McConnell, she said “It seems like he’s been in there so long that he’s lost interest.”
Danny Stone of Paducah, a retired coal miner who said he has black-lung disease and got no help from McConnell’s office, said in the poll that he was for Grimes but could still change his mind. After the debate, he said “She’s more agreeable and aggressive. . . . She’s willing and able to work in a constructive manner with Republicans.”

1 comment:

  1. As I watched the debate last night, I wondered -- as I often do during election season -- what impact debates have on the outcome. So, questions:

    What's the viewership vs. the size of the electorate? Are the viewers representative of the electorate, or does they skew toward certain demographic groups? Are those groups weighted toward "decision-makers," including the media, whose opinions carry outsized influence?

    Is the news media's account of the debate where the real influence is? In other words, among people who say a debate determined their vote, how many actually watched the debate vs. learned about it in the newspaper or on TV?