The final presidential debate

image courtesy of cnn.comThe third and final presidential took place tonight, and while I felt undecided on the results, an early CNN poll gave Kerry a substantial margin with a 59% to 39% victory over Bush. But first, a few words from our candidates (thanks to Microsoft Word):

Kerry in 100 words: 82,000 Arizonians lost their health insurance under President Bush’s watch. This president has turned his back on the wellness of America. President Bush has taken — he’s the only president in history to do this. 6 million jobs lost. This president has taken a $5. Once again, the president is misleading America. The president just said that government-run health care results in poor quality. The jobs the president is creating pay $9,000 less than the jobs that we’re losing. 6 million jobs. The president has denied 9. Let me pay a compliment to the president, if I may.

Bush in 100 words: My opponent talks about fiscal sanity. You voted to increase taxes 98 times. Most health-care costs are covered by third parties. If you have a child, you got tax relief. If you’re married, you got tax relief. If you pay any tax at all, you got tax relief. We passed tax relief. We’ll increase federal spending. We’ve increased funds. The people I talked to their spirits were high. My opponent, the senator, talks about foreign policy. I think people understand what she’s saying.

Kerry’s language in this debate focused on three phrases: minimum wage (8 mentions), health insurance (6 mentions), and social security (6 mentions), a recognizable platform for a democratic candidate.

Bush’s language on the other hand was less issue focused with the most popular phrases of my opponent (7), four years (6), and best way (5), a seemingly more defensive tone.

My personal reaction to the debate was that Kerry seemed overly repetitive and slightly less focused on the questions at hand, bringing terrorism and foreign policy into the debate too often when the focus was supposed to be on domestic issues. The CNN poll found however that viewers raised their opinion of Kerry more during the debate than Bush:

When asked who would handle domestic issues better, Kerry scored higher in health care (55-41). There was no clear leader on the economy (Kerry 51, Bush 46), education (Kerry 48, Bush 47) or taxes (Bush 50, Kerry 47). Kerry’s biggest win came on the question of who expressed himself better, where 61 percent of respondents chose him over Bush (29 percent).

I find it fascinating how bad my personal reaction is to the results of these political exchanges. After doing various forms of analysis for each of the debates, I feel like none of these methods have a predictive effect on the reaction of the voters. Or at least my reaction to the actual events and subsequent analysis seems to be contrary to the rest of the population. With that said, I guess it’s going to be a gripping election.

For more information on this analysis, please see analyses of the first presidential debate, vice presidential debate, and second presidential debate.

5 thoughts on “The final presidential debate

  1. Your closing comment explains your befuddlement…”I find it fascinating how bad my personal reaction is to the results of these political exchanges. After doing various forms of analysis for each of the debates, I feel like none of these methods have a predictive effect on the reaction of the voters. Or at least my reaction to the actual events and subsequent analysis seems to be contrary to the rest of the population.”

    You see, you’re too smart, most people aren’t. You get it the first time, not the third. This is not an indictment over the populace, just a fact. Remember the WW1 adage, about “three on a match.” It goes something like this…first light from struck match to light cigarette gains attention of your enemey…second lighted cigarette sharpens sharpshooter aim…and third lighted cigarette…your “shot.” So it goes politically…like location, location, location…it’s repetition, etc., and so on. It’s not rocket science, just reptition.

    And it works!!!

  2. I think that bush should win…becuase he is just a better person and not as rude as kerry…thanks for listening to my thoughts!!

  3. I don’t know your political stance but you are the first person that I have come across that has actually looked at the debates with an open mind and taken to heart what each candidate says.

    To me there are ups and downs to both candidates but a lot of people won’t admit that “their guy” was wrong.

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