The SSI poll, conducted between Aug. 3 and Aug. 6, found similar numbers of Democrats and Republicans who say they are "extremely likely" to watch the debate series (46 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of Republicans), but fewer Independents (33 percent) say they are extremely likely to watch.
Opinions were more divided when it comes to the debates' importance for decision-making in November, thoughts about who will win, and whether the debates should be moved because of scheduled televised football games.
The presidential debates are scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19. If a debate clashes with a televised football game, as is the case for the first two in the series, 12 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats said they would choose to watch the game, 51 percent plan to watch the debate. Fifteen percent said neither and 19 percent said they would switch back and forth between the two.
Twenty percent of those identifying themselves as Republicans would choose the game, 42 percent plan to watch the debate, 13 percent said neither and 22 percent would switch between the two.
In total, 38 percent of those interviewed would watch all or some of the game in preference to the debate – a potentially significant audience loss for the TV stations airing the debates and for the candidates themselves.
Fifty percent of Republicans interviewed believe the events should not be held on the same day as a televised professional football game, compared to only 37 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Independents.
Democrats were divided on which event should be moved; 43 percent said the games should be moved and 43 percent said the debates should be moved. The majority of Republicans and Independents (63 percent and 54 percent respectively) thought the debates should be moved.
"SSI is currently conducting numerous political studies for customers for multiple races, both local and national," said Andy Jolls, chief marketing officer at SSI. "These SSI QuickPoll results from our deeply profiled Voter Panel provide additional context for all the debate coverage to come in the next couple of weeks."
"This is the 10th presidential election for which SSI has provided sample," said Jackie Lorch, vice president global knowledge management at SSI. "We started the business with telephone, door-to-door and mail sample, and now offer online and mobile sample as well. This broad range of methodology options helps researchers tailor the best research solution to understand the nuances of U.S. political opinion."
About the study
A sample size of 1509 adult (18+) members of the SSI U.S. Online Voter Panel were interviewed between Aug. 3 – 6. The sample was balanced on age and gender of the voter population and weighted on political affiliation using data from Gallup.
About SSI Voter Sample
Launched in January 2016, the million-member SSI U.S. Voter Sample provides researchers and pollsters with the same targeting ability and accuracy found in phone voter samples. Pollsters can reach key constituents who might not answer a phone survey, to provide additional insights into issues, trends, candidate perceptions and voter turnout. Panel members are deeply profiled including attributes like voter registration status, Congressional district, party affiliation and past voting behavior at the national, state and local levels.
SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research. SSI reaches participants in 90+ sample countries via internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings. SSI staff operates from 40 offices and remote staff in 20 countries, offering sample, data collection, CATI, questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, online custom reporting and data processing. SSI's 4,000+ employees serve more than 3,000 clients worldwide. Visit SSI at www.surveysampling.com.
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SOURCE Survey Sampling International