Republican presidential hopefuls will have a lot to gain or lose in the second primary debate. According to a poll by the Brookings Institute, public opinion on the candidates can dramatically change after debates. A strong performance can give candidates a boost in the polls, while a poor showing can turn voters off.
Candidates who focus on policy positions and issue-based answers will undoubtedly stand to gain by focusing on subject matter rather than attacking each other. Specifically, candidates who address immigration reform, healthcare, taxes or national security issues with clear proposals and concrete solutions will likely capture more voter interest. On the other hand, candidates who are overly aggressive attacking other hopefuls or are otherwise off-putting in style and rhetoric could find their support eroding as a consequence.
Ultimately, the most successful candidates will be those who can appeal to voters with their vision and message without alienating them with insults and personal attacks. The winner of the second debate, and of the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, remains to be seen.