Why Thursday’s Debate Matters (But Most Others Don’t)
RCP ^ | 08/05/2015 | David Byler
Posted on 8/5/2015, 9:50:59 AM by SeekAndFind
“I was thinking of setting myself on fire” — that’s how former Mitt Romney strategist Stuart Stevens felt in January 2012. His candidate was in the midst of a marathon of primary debates and he despaired at the draining, repetitive nature of the events, saying they had a “‘Groundhog Day’ quality” to them.
Stevens’ despair about that campaign cycle’s torturously repetitious series of debates highlights a simple but oft-forgotten fact about these events: Candidates may put a lot of effort into preparing for debates, but they don’t usually move the polls.
There were 20 Republican presidential primary debates in 2011 and 2012, and even the most knowledgeable political junkies can probably only name a handful of memorable moments from them.
But despite the relative boringness of those debates, there is significant anticipation surrounding Thursday’s inaugural GOP face-off. The sheer amount of media coverage related to who made it onto the prime-time stage, how candidates are or aren’t preparing and what to expect from Donald Trump suggests that this gathering won’t be the snooze that many past debates were. That raises a simple question – what accounts for the difference?
My take is that information makes the difference. Specifically, the 2012 debates failed to move the polls because they typically didn’t provide much new information on candidates, while Thursday’s event could provide a significant amount of new information to the party elite, the media and rank-and-file primary voters…………MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!