While just 17 percent view the presidential debates as a very important factor in how they will vote in November, 87 percent say they will nonetheless tune in.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll found that the 17 percent who consider the debates a very important factor is voting is a decline from four years ago when 26 percent described the debates as very important to how they would vote.
Some 50 percent think the debates are at least somewhat important, while 48 percent do not. Before the first debate four years ago, 67 percent said the debates were important to their vote.
Rasmussen noted that before the first debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., four years ago just 5 percent said it was very likely that they would change their vote based on the debate.
Additionally, 55 percent said the debates give voters a sense of where candidates are on the issues. Some 39 percent thought the debates will help GOP challenger Mitt Romney while 33 percent believe they will help President Barack Obama.
The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters September 29-30.
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