Debate Strategy Tonight: Don’t Screw Up

Posted by | October 22, 2012 15:43 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Tonight marks the end of the debate season and unlike the past two debates, I expect very little of significance to occur.  There are three reasons for this.  First, Americans care less about foreign policy than domestic policy.  Second, both candidates will now have corrected their previous errors in tone and approach (President Obama will be energized,  Governor Romney won’t get angry, particularly at the moderator).  And finally, the third debate rarely matters as noted by Matthew Dickinson:

First, and I don’t want to make too much of this given the small “n”, the average impact of the four third debates dating back to 1992 on the incumbent party’s polls is a miniscule -.10.  That compares to -1.19 for the first debate, and -.24 for the second.

The only way this debate makes a big difference is if one of the candidates says something really dumb.  Both candidates will probably be very careful about this since the race is so close and there is no reason for either one of them to gamble.  Still the possibility of a car crash will keep me watching.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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