Posted by | October 16, 2012 12:45 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Debate #1 went to the challenger as it always does.  History on second debates are more mixed.  Senator Kerry and then-Governor Clinton built on their first debate victories in the second debate (with Clinton helped by President Bush checking his watch).  Presidents Reagan and Clinton had good second debates and in Reagan’s case, he virtually ended the campaign.  The fact that tonight’s debate is a town hall makes it harder to predict, but may cut against Governor Romney.

“He’s done his share of town halls, but a town hall when you’re debating is different than a town hall that’s yours,” said a senior Romney aide. “It’s a town hall where you have only two minutes to answer a question versus a town hall where you can have an honest conversation with somebody about an issue. It’s just different. All of these town halls he’s done [so far] aren’t really typical.”

On the one hand, Romney, like Bush 41, has trouble connecting to people, which makes this a challenge.  On the other hand, so does the President.  The polls have stabilized where they were pre-conventions, a small lead for President Obama.  Romney needs another win tonight but it’s less clear than in debate #1 that he will get it.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.