5 key questions going into first debate between President Trump, Biden

Student Blake Wiseman, a stand-in for U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a rehearsal for the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on September 28, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Getty Images)

Much of this year’s presidential election season hasn’t been the same as in past years -- namely, virtual conventions and fewer rallies that have lessened the platforms candidates normally use to get their message out to voters.

However, a normal staple of an election year will take place Tuesday, when former Vice President Joe Biden and current President Donald Trump partake in the first face-to-face debate ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

It's the first of several key dates in this home stretch of the election.

This also will be especially intriguing since it is the first time Biden, the Democratic nominee, and Trump, the Republican incumbent nominee, will share a stage in front of a national TV audience.

Here are five key questions going into the debate.

1). Will the debate sway opinions?

It’s not likely, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The poll states that 70% of Americans said the debates won’t matter much to them, and 44% said they won’t matter at all. Still, the candidates know debating well can’t hurt their efforts to appeal to undecided voters.

2). What will the format be?

Moderated by Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” the debate will consist of six segments that will be 15 minutes apiece. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the opening question in each segment, then will get a chance to respond to each other.

3). What will the topics be?

There will be six topics pre-selected by Wallace:

  • Records of each candidate
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in U.S. cities
  • The integrity of the election

The recent news about Trump’s taxes could also surface, whether it’s Biden attacking Trump on the issue or Trump giving his thoughts.

4. What will viewership be like?

It will likely be very high, and a combination of people viewing on TV and on streaming services. An estimated 100 million people could tune in, according to the New York Times, which would easily top the 84 million who viewed the first debate in 2016 between Trump and candidate Hillary Clinton.

5. How will COVID-19 protocols affect the debate?

It won’t affect it too drastically. Instead of a larger studio audience, only 100 people are expected to attend, and Biden and Trump won’t shake hands. Other than that, it will be just like any other debate of elections past.

What are you most interested in seeing during the first debate? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.