Presidential debates: A first-time, undecided voter's perspective
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The first presidential debate was touted as one of the most important in our nation's history, and was expected to be one of the most widely watched events on television. And for thousands of young Americans, this November will be the first time they can exercise their right to vote.
Alex Belisle and Brookly Sciborski are both first-time, undecided voters who say they've been frustrated with the rhetoric and drama in the current campaign season. KBOI 2News watched the debate with them Monday night to better understand a fresh, millennial perspective on the candidates and the issues.
Knowing they both have to make a choice in November, Belisle and Sciborski said these three debates will likely play a big role in their decision-making process come November. Both said the candidates portrayed their differences on stage.
"There was a stark contrast between a candidate determined to blame and take no responsibility for his business actions and brag about his wealth than there is a candidate who, at the end of the day, is trying to communicate a plan for America," said Belisle.
Both students studied political science, and say they were looking forward to hearing the candidates respond to the issues facing our country. Instead, the two said the debate focused more on the candidates and their different personality traits.
"It was almost all about the people it seemed like," Belisle said.
The students say they hoped Donald Trump would show a side that would make him appear presidential to an undecided voter. But for them, that wasn't the case.
"He stuck with a lot of attacking, unlike Hillary who was ready to go," Sciborski said.
"I think there was an opportunity for him to change perceptions about him, from lacking civility and lacking humility, and in front of a big audience convey that he could be president, and I don't think he did that," said Belisle.
The two added that they aren't convinced Clinton is the right choice either, but agree she displayed more professionalism.
"Hillary still came off cold, but she kept her composure, which is important," said Sciborski. "She at least was trying to talk about her plans for the country."
The biggest takeaway though appeared to be frustration. The two said they were more frustrated at the end of 90 minutes than they were before the face-off started.
"[I'm] just dissatisfied. Very dissatisfied," Sciborski said. "It made me very angry during the debate."
Boise State political science professor John Freemuth also weighed in after the debate, agreeing that Trump ran "hot-headed" while Clinton kept it cool. However, he stressed that it will be interesting to see how the candidates' behavior is perceived by the audience and the rest of the country.