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In an election where almost everyone says they have already made up their minds, few observers of the debate on Tuesday say they are trying to decide who to vote for. Instead, they support their candidate, seek to see how they are doing, and they also act as a political consultant, offering views on debate strategy for their candidates. CBS News polled a cross section of likely voters who say they plan to watch tonight.
Voters who plan to watch say they mostly agree on how their favorite candidate is doing, but they also have opinions on debate strategy for their candidate.
Biden and Trump voters want their candidates to explain their plans and inspire confidence. Both items top the list when asked what their candidate needs to do tonight. This is the case with supporters of Biden and Mr. Trump.
Many Biden voters believe he needs to avoid mistakes tonight. Fifty-seven percent of Biden supporters say he should avoid mistakes, by comparison, only 40 percent of Trump voters say that about their candidate.
Supporters for Mr. Trump (33%) are twice as likely as those for Biden (14%) to say their candidate must “be entertaining.”
Showing a more personal side is also important. The majority of supporters for each candidate say their candidate should “show who he is as a person” – more Biden voters believe he has to do this than Trump voters think.
While most voters who plan to watch tonight are doing so to see how their candidate behaves, many say they are listening “just for entertainment.” Few people – barely 6% – say they watch because they still decide who to vote for.
This CBS News survey of 7,447 registered voters, including 4,622 likely voters who plan to watch the debate, was conducted by YouGov from September 25-28, 2020.
The sample was weighted for sex, age, race, and education based on voter registration lists, the US Census American Community Survey, and the US Census Current Population Survey, as well. than the 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error is +/- 1.8 pts.