Plurality of voters say debates should be in person rather than virtual, and a quarter want no more debates: Poll


Voters are divided over future debates between President Trump and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Forty-one percent of registered voters, a plurality, said that the next debate should be held in person rather than virtually, a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Thursday found. Thirty-four percent of the 951 voters surveyed want the next debate to be done virtually, and 25% of voters don’t want there to be any additional matchups between the two men.

Among the Republicans surveyed, 63% said they want to see an in-person matchup versus 17% who said they would rather the debate be virtual. It split the other way for Democratic voters, half of whom said they preferred virtual debates and 24% who said they wanted a face-to-face contest.

Older voters were more likely to not want any more debates at all, with 32% of those over the age of 65 reporting that they have seen enough. Within the youngest demographic surveyed, those aged 18 to 34, only 13% said they didn’t want any future debates. The poll was conducted online between Oct. 13 and Oct. 14 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.18 percentage points.

The first debate, held in late September, was chaotic and punctuated by interruptions, and the two candidates frequently talking over each other. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News tried, to little avail, to rein in the president’s interruptions during the matchup, which featured Biden at one point telling Trump to “shut up.”

A second debate between the two candidates was scheduled for Wednesday, although it was later canceled after Trump, his family, and many others within his orbit contracted COVID-19 and the president refused to agree to a virtual debate.

The final debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 and will feature NBC’s Kristen Welker as the moderator.

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