New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 29, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas
State / National
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1980 2ADebate won't sway Texans, trio feels
DALLAS (AF11 President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan offered a clear choice, but their televised debate will not sway many voters in next week’s general election, according to three prominent Texas politicians.
“I would venture to say that about 99 percent of those who watched the debate have already made up their minds, and those who haven’t by now probably won’t vote,” former Gov. John B. Connally told The Associated Press in Houston.
“I don’t think that there is that many (undecided voters) .... at least not in Texas. I think a lot of people in Texas just don’t think it is anybody’s business how they are going to vote. That’s always been a tradition in this state,” Democratic National Chairman John White said
in an interview televised by WFAA-TV in Dallas.
Gov. Bill Clements, Reagan’s Texas campaign chairman, also doubted Tuesday’s face-to-face confrontation would sway the course of the election.
“I think most people pretty much had their minds made up.... I don’t think this is going to change a lot of people’s minds hen* in Texas,” Clements said in the televised interview Tuesday night.
But while Clements and White agreed on the impact and that the two candidates demonstrated clear differences, they expressed sharply different opinions on the winner of Carter and Reagan’s first and only debate.
“I am convinced Gov. Reagan was the clear winner.... I think it came through very clear ...
that Gov. Reagan stands for less government and president Carter stands for more government, more centralized control in Washington. I think that is the underlying theme and it came through loud and clear,” said Clements.
“I expected the president to do well, but I didn’t expect him to beat Reagan at his own game. After all, Reagan is supposed to be the polished performer. And it was the president tonight that was relaxed and poised and confident throughout as well as being more articulate and a great deal more factual on his answers,” said White.
"I think most Americans and true Texans would find Gov. Reagan’s positions in some of these cases almost shocking,” said White. “When the president said and quoted him
(Reagan) that it wasn’t any of our business about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly in answer to the terrorist question.
”... The questions that Reagan could not answer on minimum wage and social security I think were devastating. These are questions a president must deal with. He can’t ignore them. That’s not less government. That’s ignoring the legitimate needs of the American people.” Connally said he thought President Carter tried to “personalize the debate and make Carter the issue. But he (Reagan) responded effectively.”
“Gov. Reagan’s performance probably will help him in the polls,” said Connally, who bowed out early in his bid to defeat Reagan in the Republican primaries.”... I think Gov. Reagan
performed equal, if not superior, to Carter.”
KDFW-TV in Dallas conducted a random telephone survey of IOO persons after the debate and reported that 54 percent thought Reagan won, 29 percent thought Carter won and 17 percent were undecided. The station reported 57 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Reagan, 34 percent said they would vote for Carter. KDFW also reported 15 percent of the sample said the debate changed their minds about who they would vote for.
KVIA-TV in El Paso said 58.9 percent of the 450 to 500 persons who called that station thought Reagan won the debate, and 41.1 thought Carter won. That station said 35.7 percent of its callers said the debate was instrumental in changing their minds on which candidate to support.
Both Carter, Reagan made inroads into undecided vote, AP poll says
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Carter and Ronald Reagan made significant and roughly equal gams iii the preferences of registered voters as a result of their campaign debate, an exclusive poll by The Associated Press says.
The pol! found that, iii a debate-watching audience that leaned to Republican presidential candidate Reagan iii the first place, each man gained Ii percentage points, mostly from the ranks of the previously undecided.
The nationwide canvass surveyed 1,082 registered voters who watched the debate on television Tuesday night. It yielded results from which each side could claim “victory” in the long-awaited confrontation.
In addition to the 6-point gams, tile chief findings of the (xiii, taken iii the HO minutes after the debate went off the air, were these: More Reagan supporters watched than did Carter supporters.
—In this Reagan-leanmg audience, 40 percent said be did the better job while 34 percent said I lemocrat Carter did a margin that roughly parallels the margin between
them among the 1,062 both before and after the debate.
—Neither man made significant inroads into the other’s camp. Both held on to virtually all of their supporters who watched the debate.
Viewer reaction to the debate broke along partisan lines, with those who general!) agreed with Reagan thinking he did the best job while Carter scored highest with those who found him well informed andor iii agreement with their views.
The poll was conducted iii two stages. A scientifically selected nationwide sample of 1,488 registered voters was questioned by telephone Monday. 'These same people were called back after tin* debate and 1,062 said they had watched.
That the TV audience leaned more heavily to Reagan than the larger Monday sample is clear from these findings:
Among the group questioned Monday, Reagan got 39 percent, Carter 35 and Anderson 7 — figures roughly in line with the findings of major national polls taken during the last IO days.
But among the 1,062 who watched, tin*
standing as of Monday was Reagan 43, Carter 33, Anderson 8 and 15 percent undecided.
Among the 1,062 after the debate, the figures stood at 49 percent for Reagan, 39 for Carter, 6 for Anderson and 6 percent still undecided.
Thus both Reagan and Carter achieved identical 6-point gains after the debate.
Reflecting the partisan interpretation of the debate, the registered voters who thought Reagan did the best job said they did so because they said they agreed with what Reagan said. People who liked Carter’s performance said the incumbent seemed to know what he was talking about better than Reagan.
Forty percent of those who picked Reagan said they did so because he said things they agreed with. Twenty-four percent said he answered the questions well and 21 percent said he seemed to know what he was talking about. Seven percent said he looked and acted like a president and 5 percent said Carter did a poor job.
Thirty-four percent of those who thought Carter did better said he seemed to know what he was talking about. Twenty-two
percent said he answered the questions well and 18 percent said he looked and acted like a president should. Sixteen percent said Carter said things they agreed with and 7 percent felt Reagan did a poor job.
The remainder in each case gave other reasons or were not sure.
The question used to measure debate performance was phrased this way: “Who, in your opinion, did the best job in the debate?”
The interviews were conducted by Chilton Research Services of Radnor, Pa., for The Associated Press.
The results measure not the opinions of all registered voters but only those of registered voters who watched the debate nationally.
As with every sample survey the results of the AP poll could vary from the opinions of all those who watched the debate because of chance variations in the sample.
For results based on interviews with more than 1,062 adults, the results are subject to an error margin of 4 percentage points. That is, if one could have talked to all those registered voters who watched the debate last night, there is only one chance in 20 that the results would vary from the results of this poll by more than 4 percentage points.
Viewers liked Reagan—ABC poll
NKW VORK i AP) Nearly 700,000 people paid 50 cents each to take part iii an instant ARC News telephone survey following the presidential debate, and by a 2-to-l margin they said Ronald Reagan bad gained more from the encounter than President Carter.
ABC said that of the callers who reached one of two special 900-prefix numbers during the IOO minutes following Tuesday night’s debate, 469,412 people or 67 percent dialed the number designated for Reagan and 227,017 or 33 percent dialed the one assigned to Carter.
The network said an especially heavy volume '»f calls was recorded from “Western
states,” but had no more precise breakdown immediately.
ABC stressed that the survey was not scientific but merely an attempt to gauge quickly the impact of the debate on viewers.
The billy lacked statistical validity because, unlike tin* traditional public opinion polls, the sampling was not selected to represent the electorate as a whole. It simply represented the view s of those w ho called Callers who reached one of two numbers broadcast by ABC during the debate had then choice recorded by computer and were greeted by a recorded message that said:
“This is Frank Reynolds. Thank you for dialing this number and automatically registering your opinion that President Carter iRonald Reagan) gained the most in this debate.”
ABC said the telephone company would bill callers 50 cents.
Despite an electronic system which ABC said allowed 4,500 to 5,000 calls to be counted by phone company circuits simultaneously, various problems were reported around the country.
Many callers were frustrated by repeatedly being told all circuits were busy, while some
people iii Charlotte, N.C., and Kansas City, Mo., reported that when they called the number for Reagan they got the message for Carter. ABC said the phone company gave assurances that despite what the recordings said, the calls were scored correctly.
In Long Beach, Calif., callers who neglected to use the 900 prefix swamped the police department sw itchboard for a time.
ABC said it had withheld advance announcement of the survey or the telephone numbers to minimize the chance that an organized phone-in campaign would distort the results.Great debate at a glance
CLEVELAND < AP) — Here are the highlights of the debate between President Carter and Ronald Reagan:War and peace
REAGAN: “To maintain...peace requires strength. America has never gotten into a war because we were too strong. We can get into a war by letting events get out of hand as they have in the last 34 years.”
CARTER: “Habitually, Governor Reagan has advocated the injection of military forces into troubled areas when I and my predecessors...have advocated resolving those troubles peacefully and diplomatically.”Energy
CARTER: “He < Reagan) wants to put all our eggs into one basket and give that basket to the oil companies.”
REAGAN: “I just believe private enterprise can do a better job” of spurring energy development. “I’m suggesting there are literally thousands of unnecessary regulations....! would like to see us a little more free, as we once were."SALT treaty
CARTER: “When a man who hopes to be president says, Take this treaty, discard it...do not finally capitalize on this long negotiation,’ that is a very dangerous and disturbing thing.”
REAGAN: “We have been out-negotiated for some time.” He said his call for reopening negotiations with the Soviet Union was “hardly throwing away a treaty and being opposed to arms control.”Social Security
CARTER: “As long as there is a Democratic president in the White House, we will have a strong and viable Social Security system free of the threat of bankruptcy.”
REAGAN: “The Social Security system was based on a false premise with regard to how fast...the number of retirees would increase. It is actuarially out of balance...trillions of dollars out of balance.”Debate rated good television fare
Jerry G rote's
LOS ANGELES (Al* I The long-awaited Jimmy Carter-Rotiald Reagan television delude was a distinct improvement over the show that preceded it, the Keagan-Johii Anderson encounter. At least this presidential debate had a president.
And it was better television, if not a showcase for exemplary statesmanship. The four members of the questioning panel were less interested in self-serving soliloquy than in aspiring debate, and if the candidates managed to avoid answering tin* questions, at
least there was the element of face-to-face confrontation.
Winch brings it down to this question: Mow’d they play?
The history of presidential television suggests that such trifles as manner and appearance carry sway with voters. Iii that line. Carter seemed iii command ot his facts but stern and somewhat humorless as Walter Cronkite pointed out. Reagan stumbled over Ins words, w as unspecific iii Ins responses, but he smiled and even joked a bit.
Iii the context of television, you could say that Carter was
you* (Min-02b 9144
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documentary, R Iii the context a draw.
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Tuesday’s < featured a cou| TV sideshows.
ebate also e of curious ARC used a
telephone survey to conduct an instant nationwide straw poll, with callers giving their opinions as to who won. ARC admitted it was an unscientific survey but it seemed like science fiction.
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