Does a presidential debate influence outcome?


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – ABC 36 Political Analyst Stephen Voss, Ph.D., says Presidential debates attract more political buffs than people who are trying to build an opinion on who to vote for.

“Most people’s politics are already baked in,” Dr. Voss said.

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Especially in a polarizing year.

“Debates and other high profile campaign events are popular to discuss, but they’re generally not what determines election outcomes,” Voss said.

And let’s not forget debates are hours long, not everyone is willing to tune in.

“They’re watching it more like sports fans at a match, where they’re pulling for the home team, than they are the sort of ideal citizen who’s listening to the policy proposals and trying to form an opinion,” Voss said.

Debates can have a clear winner and loser, but even then Voss says there’s not much damage done.

“Very few votes are up for grabs,” he said.

Some kentuckians have already voted.

Similar to the Primary Election, Kentuckians can request absentee ballots to mail in. Secretary of State Michael Adams clarifying you must request one to receive one.

“We aren’t registering voters without their consent and mailing out ballots they didn’t ask for,” Adams said in a video explaining Kentucky’s General Election.

The deadline to request one in Kentucky is Oct. 9.

There’s still time to register to vote, that deadline is Oct. 5.

A new addition, there will be three weeks of early in-person voting that starts Oct. 13.

The General Election is Nov. 3.

“Although we won’t have final election results on election night, the vast majority of votes will be counted and reported,” Adams said.

Adams on Twitter Tuesday, says Wednesday is the deadline for county clerks to present election plans. He says as of Tuesday he approved 101 of Kentucky’s 120 plans.

In Fayette County, Clerk Don Blevins says there was initially a backlog of absentee requests. Tuesday night he says he’s increased the staff by 28 people to help and should be caught up by the end of the week.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or