Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Why not have questions from people who really care?

Once again, we've had a debate where the undecideds got to dictate the discourse: CPD: Statement on Town Hall Debate: "This is the fourth presidential election in which Gallup has been retained by the Commission on Presidential Debates to recruit a random sample of uncommitted voters from the area around the town hall debate venue. Gallup also did the same thing for a 1992 debate at the University of Richmond (with George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and Perot), the 1996 debate at the University of San Diego (Clinton and Dole), and the 2000 debate at Washington University in St. Louis (George W. Bush and Gore). "The basic procedure is very similar to those used when Gallup conducts a normal poll. Gallup begins with a random probability sample of the St. Louis area, asks people a series of questions to determine if they qualify as an uncommitted voter, and then invites them to be a participant in the debate if they qualify. "Although over 100 participants will be on stage behind Bush and Kerry, the 90-minute format means that only about 20 people will actually end up asking questions. Under the terms of the debate agreement hammered out by the two campaigns, moderator Gibson will select the questioners and will attempt to keep the questions roughly balanced between foreign and domestic issues. " Wouldn't it be a whole lot more interesting if well-informed people with fire in their bellies got to put questions politely to candidates from the other side?