To Debate Or Not To Debate...

Jonathan Garthwaite
|
Posted: Sep 24, 2008 7:46 PM
I tend to agree with Matt, Hugh, et al that McCain campaign suspension and questioning of the debate schedule was a smart decision.  It hasn't been a great couple of days for the McCain campaign and McCain had to make sure the American public knew he was taking the economic situation seriously.

That being said, in my humble opinion, McCain needs to be careful not to take it too far.   To disarm unilaterally in the ad wars and risk looking weak as a no-show to Friday's debate would be disasterous.

A new poll from Survey USA illustrates why the McCain strategy carries plenty of risk.  Only 10-14% of respondents seem to agree with the McCain campaign. 

The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama is scheduled to take place in two days. Should the debate be held as scheduled? Should the debate be held, but the format changed to focus on the economy? Or, should the debate be postponed? 

50% Held As Scheduled
36% Held With Focus On Economy
10% Postponed
4% Not Sure

Is the right response to the turmoil on Wall Street to suspend the campaigns for president? To continue the campaigns as though there is no crisis? Or, to re-focus the campaigns with a unique emphasis on the turmoil on Wall Street? 

14% Suspend Campaigns
31% Continue Campaign
48% Re-focus The Campaign
7% Not Sure

If Friday's presidential debate does not take place, would that be good for America? Bad for America? Or would it make no difference? 

14% Good For America
46% Bad For America
35% No Difference
6% Not Sure

Interestingly, the Commission on Presidential debate originally scheduled Friday's debate to be focused on the economy and domestic policy but changed it to foreign policy and national security in the last week or so. 

Update to Debate format: The first presidential debate will focus on foreign policy and national security; the third presidential debate will focus on domestic and economic policy.