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Professor Discusses Vice Presidential Debate



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After President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney took to the stage last week, political scientists say voters still have a lot of questions.

Emily Wanless, Associate Professor at Augustana College, says she believes that both candidates are struggling to hang on to votes. She said that for both sides, Thursday night's debate needs to be less about numbers and more about emotion.

“Those tuning in for the vice presidential debate often are looking for more specifics, and they need to be able to convey that but at the same time not loosing the attention of voters who are more interested in maybe the more personal aspect,” she said.

Wanless says Joe Biden has been successful at appealing to the emotional side of viewers, and it's very important he do that again.

“He needs to be successful, he needs to look enthusiastic and excited to be there which I don't expect for him to have any problem, he's a very compassionate speaker, he evokes emotion much more than a lot of politicians do,” she said.

Wanless points out that usually debates have little impact on the outcome of an election because by now, most voters already know whom they support. She said the debates are a valuable way for candidates to reach out to voters.

 “I also think there is a traditional aspect to them, where we value an open forum, where we get to know more about the policy stances of these candidates and this is the opportunity that we get,” she said.
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