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Is politics trending yet?

September 21, 2015

Judging from the ratings reports for the first two GOP debates, about 7.6% of the country or approximately 11% of the eligible voting population is watching that party’s would-be candidates this early in the game.

Both networks (CNN and Fox) are pleased with the market share, and of course the pollsters get something new to ask people about, the latest being Carly Fiorina, which must be a nice change from just polling the Trump-eteers.

It would be wrong to say that the debates and their audiences (which likely included a high percentage of duplicate viewers) don’t matter at this stage of the game.

The viewership matters to the bundlers and big donors, and of course to the people paying for advertising on the programs.

Most of us will never get to see the candidates in person, so to the extent that people even at this early stage in the process can glean some insights into the contenders, televised debates do matter.

And of course it matters to the contestants. As noted in the previous post here, Ms. Fiorina needed to get her name and face out there and the first two debates certainly met that goal.

Conversely, the handwriting is on the wall for about half the GOP field. If you are still polling in the aggregate of all the polls next week at less than three percent, and/or dropping substantially, it might be time to cut your losses. The next polling cycle for the major pollsters should help sort the field somewhat.

Since the Democrats don’t even have their first debate until October 13, the national picture is still fuzzy, and let’s face it, polls and election results haven’t exactly converged at the same point in the past few cycles. Added to that, there are only two viable names (with VP Joe Biden a wild card at the moment), and given that one of them was an Obama insider, you will have to be a pretty dedicated political watcher to sit through a half dozen of those debates.

The next GOP debate is October 28, and at least the moderators will have something to talk about relative to that October 13  show, assuming of course that CNBC can move off the playground and into an adult venue.

Historically, somewhere between 60 and 64% of registered voters (approximately 220 million people) actually vote in presidential election years.

At least at this stage, perhaps that total is due to trend to the higher side of the average this time. After all, when our government is facing the prospect that the “boots on the ground” in the Middle East will be Russian, after paying about $4.5 million dollars each for nine so-called trained fighters of Middle East ethnicity, voters may think it’s time for a change in policy.

If the GOP field gets whittled down to a manageable debate team, perhaps the debates might even be useful.

So what the heck…grab your beverage of choice and tune in.  Maybe you can make up a drinking game for each time a candidate uses a certain word or phrase.

From → op-ed

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