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2012 Fall Issue 3 (October 5, 2012)

How to Win a Debate: Judging Books by Their Covers

October 6, 2012
By Editorial

On Wednesday night, President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney debated on live TV for the first time. According to polls from CNN news, 67% thought that Romney “won” the debate, claiming that he appeared more “in command” than Obama. But for those of us who were fact-checking the content of each candidates’ assertions, Obama stayed more consistent and true to his policy than Romney, who flip-flopped and contradicted himself throughout most of the debate.

Yet, Americans responded to Romeny’s demonstration of power and control over the conversation, especially in terms of the volume of his voice, his eye-contact with Obama (as opposed to the President, who would often look down at his notes when Romney was talking), and his general strong composure. Thus, the content of his speech was overlooked, due to his public presence.

Further, according to Daniel Libit of The Daily, the less a candidate blinks during the debate can heavily affect the election results. Based on a case study of the 2008 Presidential debates, former candidate John McCain blinked an average of 104 times per minute, whereas Obama blinked a mere 62 times per minute. And we all know the end result of that election.

While the scientific creduality of this claim is sketchy, it is an interesting prospect that the more calm and composed a candidate appears, the more likely he is to win, despite the legitimacy or consistancy of his content. For the next election, Americans should focus less on  the strength of each candidates’ apperance and more on the strength of the issues that they discuss; it will lead to a much more interesting election result.

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