The Briefing: Recent study finds higher voting likelihood for students who watched debate

The study, conducted by an MU political organization, found that students who watched the latest U.S. Senate debate in Missouri are more likely to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Students who watched the second of three debates for Missouri’s closest Senate race on Oct. 18 may have more motivation to cast their ballots on Election Day.

The likelihood of a student voting rose by 10 percent if they watched the Oct. 17 debate between Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican Josh Hawley, the attorney general of Missouri, according to an MU Political Communication Institute survey of 70 MU students.

The race for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat is viewed as one of the more highly-contested races this November. Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analysis organization, rates the race as “toss-up” on its website.

The survey’s results, which were announced by the MU News Bureau Oct. 19, also found that the individual candidates both gained support from students who watched the debate.

The likelihood that a surveyed student would support Hawley rose by 18 percent, while McCaskill saw a gain of 15 percent. Hawley’s support of 48 percent outnumbered McCaskill’s 36 percent.

The PCI conducts research on political campaigns and races in hopes of increasing civic engagement, according to its website.

The study, which was conducted before and after the debate, asked students how likely they were to vote, who they would support and who they believe performed best.

The last election for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri was in 2016, when Republican incumbent Roy Blunt defeated Democrat Jason Kander by 2.8 percent, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s website.

McCaskill and Hawley will compete in a third debate Oct. 25 in Kansas City, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Election Day is Nov. 6, and Missouri voters can find their voting information on the Missouri secretary of state’s website.

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen |

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