Tonight was the first Democratic debate in Detroit, and it’s guaranteed to be one that candidates and voteres will be talking about for quite some time. Ten candidates squared off for a two-hour debate broadcast on CNN. Who do you think won tonight’s debate? After you’ve read this article, vote in the poll at the end.
The candidates who are in tonight’s debate were Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, Steve Bullock, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
The DNC randomly drew names for who would attend the debates from three tier groups in order to try to have the two back-to-back debates divided a little more evenly this time around. And it seems to have worked. The two debates feel a lot more evenly divided between high-polling candidates and lower-polling candidates this time around. It’s a great opportunity for candidates who aren’t so well known to grab some attention and get their name out in the public.
Each candidate was given 60 seconds to respond to questions and then 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.
FiveThirtyEight has said that debates, especially primary debates, can certainly impact the outcome of the election. Nearly 60 percent of people in studies have shifted their choice of candidate after watching a debate. However, primary debates are far better at doing this than general election debates. In a primary, viewers might consider the likeability of a candidate and just how compatible a candidate is with them on the issues versus a different candidate. The earlier in the election cycle (and the less information a person has about the candidates) the better in terms of a debate’s impact. So today’s debate could have a significant impact on future voting in the primaries. Not surprisingly, studies have also shown that candidates do better when they have more speaking time during a debate.
So who won tonight? Was it one of the progressive poll leaders, Sanders or Warren? Was it O’Rourke, who led a strong fight against Ted Cruz in Texas? Was it Marianne Williamson, who brings a unique flair to the debates? Was it Amy Klobuchar who often surprises people with her strong points? Was it Pete Buttigieg who has been gaining momentum? Or perhaps the win goes to John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, or Steve Bullock. In a field this big, anyone has a chance to stand out unexpectedly.
Now that you’ve read the article, vote in Heavy’s poll below. Who do you think won tonight’s debate? The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name below.