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Only 36% Think GOP Debate Moderators Ask Mostly About Important Issues

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Voters are fairly satisfied with the number of debates in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but most don’t think debate moderators ask enough about the major issues facing the nation.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Likely U.S. Voters say there are too many debates in the GOP contest, while 14% think there are too few. But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a plurality (44%) of voters thinks the number of debates is about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among likely Republican voters, 57% feel the number of debates is about right. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Tea Party members agree, compared to 36% of those who are not members of the grass roots movement.

Just 36% of all voters, however, believe that debate moderators ask mostly about important issues. Twenty-five percent (25%) think the moderators ask mostly about minor issues, while 14% more say they primarily ask about meaningless trivia. Another 25% are undecided.

The plurality (44%) of GOP voters feels the moderators ask mostly about important issues, while 22% say minor issues predominate. Fourteen percent (14%) think the questions are chiefly about meaningless trivia, with 20% not sure.

Given the division of opinion over the quality of the moderator questions, it’s no surprise that 77% of voters nationwide believe all candidates should be given five minutes in a debate to state what they see as the most important issue and what they would do about it.  Only 11% don’t like this idea, with another 11% undecided about it. There’s virtually no partisan disagreement over this question.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 2-3, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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