Presidential candidates Trump and Clinton went head-to-head only hours ago at Hofstra University in what was predicted to be one of the most watched presidential debates to date.
Serving as the first of three debates, tonight’s public discussion is particularly important as it has set the tone for the subsequent debates to come.
Anticipated most for the uncertainty lying within Trump’s tone and demeanor, an earlier poll revealed that this debate will be a likely influence for ⅓ of registered voters who are undecided regarding who go vote for this November.
While the election appears to be in a “virtual dead heat” according to the Wall Street Journal, 1/3 of voters are looking to the debates for guidance on who to support in the upcoming election, 37% of these voters being registered as Republican and 31% being registered Democrats.
Moreover, the poll reveals that 11% of registered voters are “debate-persuadables”, meaning that they are either planning to vote for a third-party candidate or are currently are loosely committed to voting for the candidate they align themselves with.
The issue of “likability” was heavily-discussed prior to the first debate, as bot candidates have been ranked as the most “unlikable” candidates in modern U.S. history.
Many voters have developed, unwavering belief systems regarding the personality and likability of each candidate; thus, it will be difficult to change the public opinion of a large portion of audiences.
However, unlike during the 2012 election (which was viewed as an “ordinary” election where debates we’re not predicted to change the opinion of many voters), since the proportion of indifferent or confused voters is so high, many analysts are looking past issue regarding policy and more towards the candidate’s overall presence and likability to gain support, especially among younger voters.
These findings are especially reflective on the current state of millennials residing in GA.
Throughout this presidential campaign, young Georginians have shifted toward supporting third party candidates and are strongly opposed to both major party candidates. A poll conducted by Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August found that nearly one-fourth of GA voters 39 years-of-age or younger had shifted their support to either Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
More significantly, the majority of these voters are in support of Libertarian candidate Johnson. A Monmouth University poll conducted last week revealed that among likely voters, 8% intended to cast their vote for Johnson. This would in turn give Trump a boost due to the structure of the electoral system.
In fact, the same poll determined last week that Trump is now leading the race in GA by 3 points, which is partly because Johnson is gaining support of younger voters.
Thus, millennial voters in Georgia may find these upcoming debates as a useful resource to decide who to ultimately vote for this November.