Will the first debate be a game changer? History says, not so much

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3 2012 1:50 p.m. MDT

Michael Dukakis vs. George H.W. Bush, 1988 Next » 4 of 6 « Prev
Associated Press
In 1988, Michael Dukakis was asked, "What would you do, given your feelings about the death penalty, if your wife, Kitty Dukakis, were raped and murdered?"

Dukakis' answer was given in what CNN called a "policy-wonkish way" that "underscored a vulnerability that he already seemed to be without emotion and without passion."

The Telegraph said the "manner of his answer, if not the substance, struck the wrong chord with voters."

Gallup, according to Sides, showed that the debates in 1988 had "little to no impact on voter preferences," while Stimson suggested they might have added a point to Bush's margins.

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