A communications expert at the University of Missouri-Columbia says the debates had an impact on the presidential race, though he says the debates didn’t settle a very close race. Professor William Benoit says the debates shifted the public opinion polls in Democrat John Kerry’s favor, but he doesn’t see a dramatic shift. Benoit says that’s normal in debates, which he says tend to solidify a candidate’s support. He says both Kerry and President Bush attempted to appeal to undecided voters in the debates and, because they did, at times they sounded very similar themes.
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