Poll: One-Third of Republicans Likely Not Watching the First GOP Debate

TV off couple playing chess
Giselleflissak via Getty

One-third of Republicans are likely not watching the first GOP presidential debate, according to an Economist/YouGov survey released Wednesday, hours ahead of the first debate of the primary season.

The survey asked respondents if they plan to watch the debate, taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday evening.

Among all respondents, just 38 percent said they will either “probably” or “definitely” watch it; of those, 11 percent said they will “definitely” watch it.

Over one-third of Republicans, 36 percent, indicated that they will likely not watch the debate — 15 percent said “definitely” not and 21 percent said “probably” not. Just 19 percent of Republicans said they will “definitely” watch the debate, while 33 percent said they “probably” will.

Only seven percent of independents said they will “definitely” watch the debate, compared to 20 percent who said they “probably” will, 22 percent who said “probably not,” and 35 percent who said “definitely not.”

Notably, more Democrats plan to watch the GOP debate than independents, as 41 percent said they either “definitely” or “probably” will tune in, compared to 27 percent of independents who said the same.

Additionally, the survey found three in ten Republicans revealing that the primary debates are not important in helping them decide their party’s presidential nominee.

When asked, “How important are primary debates in making up your mind about who your party’s presidential nominee should be?” 59 percent of respondents, overall, said they are at least somewhat important, and of those, 23 percent said they are “very” important.”

Across the board, most Democrats, independents, and Republicans agree that the primary debates are at least somewhat important. However, 30 percent of Republicans said the debates are at least not very important in determining their choice for the nominee— a sentiment shared by 32 percent of independents as well.

Just 14 percent of independents consider the debates “very” important, as do 24 percent of Republicans. Another 38 percent of GOP respondents said primary debates are “somewhat” important, and 35 percent of independents agree.

The survey was taken August 19 – 22, 2023, among 1,500 United States adult citizens and comes hours ahead of the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee.

Because of former President Donald Trump’s intentional absence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and anti-woke businessman Vivek Ramaswamy will take center stage at the debate, moderated by Fox News’s Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.

As Breitbart News reported:

To Ramaswamy’s right, the lineup will be DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

To Ramaswamy’s left will stand former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Former President Donald Trump, who is not participating in the debate, teased his counter-programming on Truth Social Wednesday, writing, “MY INTERVIEW WITH TUCKER CARLSON WILL BE AIRED TONIGHT AT 9:00 P.M. ‘SPARKS WILL FLY.’ ENJOY!”

RELATED — Trump: “Sort of Foolish” to Do 1st GOP Debate with Lead Since Fox News ‘Hostile Network’
Matthew Perdie / Breitbart News, Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News


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