How social media, debates could impact the 2020 election

With 35 days until the election, the blitz to get your attention and your vote will nearly be inescapable.

If you turn off the TV, don't worry, social media will have just as many ads.

"There will be a lot of tweeting," said Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism media literacy professor, Kristy Roschke.

Roschke says that with each election cycle, social media's role has grown, especially with misinformation.

"There’s just so much information that you don’t know who to devote your attention to. So even if you knew who you wanted to pay attention to it would hard to sift through all the other voices to find the information you actually want."

But on the flip side, social media appears to have played a big part with record breaking voter registration.

Maricopa County broke a record with 74,000 newly registered voters during the week of Sept. 21.

"There’s big banners on the top of all the platforms. Have you voted? Are you registered? There’s a button you click to figure out how to do that."

ASU professor Bradley Adame is an expert in messaging, particularly when it comes to natural disasters.

And while some may consider politics a disaster on its own, Adame says the messaging, especially after Sept. 29's debate, will only go up.

"Because we have a finite deadline built into this process, the election, both sides can keep barraging us with these messages with the intent that we can integrate this into our own thinking and believe what they’re telling us.”

Social media and presidential debates

With just over 30 days until the election, what kind of impact could social media and presidential debates have?

OH Predictive Insights pollster Mike Noble talked about how debates could sway an undecided voter.

“Historically debates have not moved the needle. However, 2020 when up is down and down is up, I think if Biden has a moment and Trump jumps on him, he could nail it or conversely he could take the wind out of the sales of his opponent," Noble said.

The topics covered in the debate were mainly what Noble says are resonating with Arizona voters. Topics like health care, the economy, COVID-19 and the Supreme Court were debated.

“I think we’ve seen in the last few months, with Donald Trump being in town and his entourage. How many talked about the border wall? Next to zero. But back in 2019, there was a lot of talk about the border wall. Because 1 in 3 voters said that was important. But now In the time of COVID, some social issues have taken a backseat to more pressing issues," he said.

Many took to social media after the debate to weigh in on who they thought won.

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