Hype for the third and final presidential debate tonight has been considerably less than for the two previous face-offs — perhaps for good reason. The debate is focused on foreign policy, and Americans don’t seem to care that much about it.
“War/foreign conflicts” and “terrorism/terrorist attacks” tied for a spot near the bottom of a list of issues from which respondents were asked to identify the most important, in Reuters/Ipsos polls conducted since January. Only 2 percent of likely voters saw each of those two as issues of top importance.
In October, 43 percent of likely voters said the economy was the most important issue and 25 percent pointed to “unemployment/lack of jobs,” followed by healthcare (7 percent), morality (5 percent), “other” (5 percent), education (4 percent) and immigration (3 percent).
Not a single foreign policy-related issue has made it to 5 percent since the polling began in January, despite the recent unrest in the Middle East.
The agenda for tonight’s debate says moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News will ask President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney about the United States’ role in the world; Afghanistan and Pakistan; Israel and Iran; China and the future; and the Middle East and terrorism.