The first presidential debate of the 2016 election took place on Sept. 26. It marked the first time that the two presidential nominees have shared a stage to argue their plans for the nation.
According to findings from Nielson, over eighty million people watched the debate. These ratings marked it as the most watched presidential debate ever, which created the perfect opportunity for the candidates to spread their message to those on the fence.
Josie Rappold, a senior at E&H, was not impressed with how the two candidates presented themselves. “I found it to be a very robotic performance on both their parts. I was not engaged with it at all and turned it off shortly after putting it on,” explained Josie.
Throughout this election, the question of who the youth vote will go to has been raised often in the media, especially after Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders dropped out in July. Sanders was able to attract young voters with an ease that none of the other candidates have been able to achieve, even after his departure from the race.
Ryan Owens, a junior at E&H, did not even watch the debate because of who the current candidates are. “I did not want to watch those two just yell at each other for a couple of hours. I don’t even plan on voting for them,” said Owens of the debate.
With the general election coming in November, now is a crucial moment for the candidates to gather as many late-decider votes to their cause as possible. Presidential debates have historically been the deciding factor in a number of past elections, the most famous case being the debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
The E&H Mass Communication Department hosted a debate viewing party on the ground floor of Hickory, and will be doing so for the remaining debates. The next presidential debate viewing will be on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Hickory Ground Level Lounge.
– Jeffrey Cowart