Sunday, October 15, 2006

Votes for Tester

I had my journalism students at Rocky Mountain College watch last week's Burns-Tester debate and write a brief story about it. When I asked for a show of hands on who they thought won the debate, they favored Tester by about 4-1.

Bear in mind: This is a group of busy college students. None had seen any of the other debates and none has followed the race closely (on a recent editing quiz, no one caught the error in this phrase: U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, D-Mont.). Their responses to the debate seemed to be based less on the candidates' positions than on how they answered questions and stated their positions.

I don't know that any of that means anything, but I thought the edge the students gave to Tester was striking. I've seen three of the debates and rated them all roughly as draws.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

ROUGHLY DRAWS?? Dave, glad you're not teaching DEBATE! Just an observation on my party, but I find it striking!

Your pal,
LK

Eric said...

David, they'll grow out of it.

I admit that I voted for Jimmy Carter, and I turned out OK.

David said...

Eric, I don't think so. I really don't think their opinions had much at all to do with the political message. I think it was all about presentation.

Shane C. Mason said...

Perhaps it went a bit further than presentation David. Young folks soak in a bit more than we often give them credit for.

Perhaps they could tell one was on the run? Perhps they could tell that only one of them was being honest with them? Perhaps they could tell that one was just spouting talking points, while the other one was actually talking from the heart?

krh said...

Like your college students, I have only vaguely followed the race. I visit a few websites, read the debate summaries and take in the commercials with skepticism.

Because I only get 4 channels and didn’t feel like watching football, I happened to catch a re-broadcast of the debate on PBS this weekend. One of the most striking things to me about the debate was the last 45 seconds - after they had made their closing statements and after the auditorium lights had come on. Burns refused to shake Tester’s hand, even though Tester crossed the stage to do so. I don’t know much about politics, but that’s just rude and completely unprofessional.

Eric said...

I look forward to seeing you all at tonites debate.