9News Nelson Garcia did a pre-debate interview on the importance of the first face-to-face confrontation between the candidates. I offered a number of observations.
The last debate I covered with 9News was in October 2012 in Denver. It was the first meeting between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, and the consensus was Romney won. It indeed tightened the race for a few days, but Obama went on to win, including in Colorado.
Garcia started the interview discussing the impact.
Debates can have an impact.
“They just attract a big audience,” Ciruli said. “I think that this is going to be a record audience.”
It only takes a couple of percentage points to change the dynamics of this race. About two points would make it a lot closer and if it was only a five-point race, then I think all of us would say it looks a lot like 2016.
If it closed a couple of percentage points and you could relate it to this debate, that would make this a very, very important debate.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan had a good debate with Jimmy Carter and what it did is it didn't particularly change the numbers, but it built his ultimate landslide.
President Trump needs to change the dynamics of the race.
He has been down 7 or 8 points really since probably mid-June and he has got to change the direction of this race. He's got to shake this race up so it's very important for him to do very well.
They are both at risk. This is an important debate for both of them. I don't think Trump is going to get too many more chances to change the direction of this race.
The President needs a real home run here.
Vice President Biden must prove he is up to the job.
If there is one attack the President has launched that has been pretty effective, it has not been law and order. It has not been that I am better on the economy. It has been that Joe Biden is too old and he's a little frail. He can't do this job. He's not up to it mentally or physically.
This will be the strongest test for him to overcome any doubts about his stamina. It’s 90 minutes and also just his ability to interact.
I think if Biden can handle that then there's a possibility that this could really cement his lead maybe even add a bit to it.
The first debate most important.
By the time we're getting to the second or third debate, a lot more people (there's already more than a million have voted) a lot more people will have already voted. While there still might be a few undecideds and a few people of interest, I think that this is the one that really is going to count.
This is the one that will get the most attention. This is the one that people are still to the extent that there is indecision? This is the one that could settle this.