Experts Suggest Ways Obama, Romney Can Sway Voters

x
Pamela Dockins
As U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney prepare for the first of their three debates, analysts weigh in with their thoughts about what each candidate will need to do to sway voters in this pivotal election event.

Recent polls have given the president an edge heading into Wednesday's showdown. Given that trend, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said the president's job will be to maintain the status quo.

"I don't think he has to draw any grand designs about a second term," he said.

The 2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

  • October 3: Moderator asks questions on domestic policy
  • October 16: Town hall meeting in which undecided voters ask questions on domestic, foreign issues
  • October 22: Moderator asks questions on foreign policy
Crucial night for Romney

Sabato said for Romney, though, it is a very different situation.

"Most people see the debates - the first one in particular - as a do-or-die moment for him," he said.

Vanderbilt University political science professor Marc Hetherington said Romney can win over voters in the debates if he sticks to what he is good at doing.

"Governor Romney needs to stay focused on the things that people, at least up until recently, have viewed him as the stronger advocate for. And that is economic concerns. His background in business seems to be something that people have generally liked," said Hetherington.

Stand-ins for moderator Jim Lehrer (C), Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama (R), run through a rehearsal for the first presidential debate on Wednesday at the University of Denver, inStand-ins for moderator Jim Lehrer (C), Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama (R), run through a rehearsal for the first presidential debate on Wednesday at the University of Denver, in
x
Stand-ins for moderator Jim Lehrer (C), Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama (R), run through a rehearsal for the first presidential debate on Wednesday at the University of Denver, in
Stand-ins for moderator Jim Lehrer (C), Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama (R), run through a rehearsal for the first presidential debate on Wednesday at the University of Denver, in
Swaying undecided voters

He said both candidates will have to push hard to connect with undecided voters.

"That's, of course, the trick at this point - figuring out who you can move at this late stage in the game [this close to the election]," said Hetherington.

Brookings Institution analyst Stephen Hess said that for both men, it is a question of likability. He said Obama will need to defend his record without coming across as overly aggressive.

"We can expect that he will be attacked. That's the nature of debates. And one thing he has to do is not lose his cool. Some people find him a bit 'uncool' - arrogant, if you will," said Hess.

Seeking charisma, leadership

Hess said there generally are two schools of thought concerning Romney.

"There's the one that says the American people are not terribly comfortable with him as a man, and it is very important for him to be better liked - likability. Then the other school would, of course, be that this is his opportunity to show strong leadership," he said.

Hess said the November presidential election will be largely about the economy, and both candidates will have to stress that issue in the debates.

Related video report by Cindy Saine:

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs