Tags: larry sabato | debates | change | voter | minds | presidential race

Sabato: Debates Won't Likely Change Minds in Presidential Race

Fox News' "America's Newsroom"

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Aug 2016 01:23 PM

People in today's society tune into political debates to root for the candidate on their side, not to hear information that could change their minds, and the upcoming presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not likely change most Americans' minds, political analyst Larry Sabato said Wednesday.

"They don't tune in to change their political coloration," Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center of Politics, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program. "The research in that area shows that in the vast majority of cases, people return to their original choice within a week or 10 days."

Voters are already finalizing their decisions, said Sabato, well before the debates end in October.

"Here is what is fascinating about this election," he said. "Normally, with an open race you have candidates that still aren't that well-known and can manipulate their images and the image of their opponent."

With Clinton and Trump, however, "these two candidates are so well-known, and their images are almost set in stone, so the concrete started to harden sooner than it usually does. It will be tough to change people's minds once they have made them up."

Meanwhile, Sabato, said he predicted, through his Crystal Ball website, in March that Trump will need to carry all the states Mitt Romney carried in 2012, including North Carolina, and will need to flip Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, which President Barack Obama carried, to win the election and that has not changed.

There are a few other scenarios, including that of a "Rust Belt" win that combines wins in Pittsburgh and Ohio while adding Michigan and Wisconsin, he said.

"You put that together with the Romney states, and you have got exactly 270 electoral votes," Sabato said. "Yes, there are other pathways that you can reasonably draw on the map but until Donald Trump can get the momentum that he needs on the campaign trail, maybe, from the debates, all of this is theoretical."

The news of Clinton's connections with the Clinton Foundation and other stories are resonating with Trump's base, Sabato said, and is getting Trump's base excited, but he doesn't expect the scandals to translate to votes.

"They're ready to go," said Sabato. "They wish the election were tomorrow. Does this affect Hillary Clinton's support? No."

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People in today's society tune into political debates to root for the candidate on their side, not to hear information that could change their minds, and the upcoming presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not likely change most Americans' minds,...
larry sabato, debates, change, voter, minds, presidential race
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2016-23-24
Wednesday, 24 Aug 2016 01:23 PM
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